Jordan Pickford has cemented the goalkeeping spot at Everton, and now has a chance of doing that for England, too. Gareth Southgate gave him the nod against the Netherlands and he kept a clean sheet whilst producing some great saves.
In what hasn’t been a great season for Everton, Pickford has been a rare positive. The club has wasted a lot of money on players recently, but the goalkeeper was money well spent. I remember watching David De Gea and his early struggled at Man United thinking that he has all the raw abilities to be an incredible goalkeeper, and his weak areas are ones that can be coached.
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I feel the same way with Pickford – the raw ability is phenomenal and whether he can reach the heights of De Gea remain to be seen, but he is already a brilliant goalkeeper and is only going to get better. Joe Hart can no longer be England’s first choice, which has opened up a huge opportunity.
Do Everton fans want him to play?
I hope that opportunity is given to Pickford on a permanent basis and he can be the consistent player England have been looking for. Personally, I love Everton players playing for the national side, and it gives me a sense of pride. Other Everton fans don’t share that view, however, and point to the fact that the England team can be poisonous to a player’s confidence.
It clearly has for Ross Barkley, who never seemed to be able to cope with the England pressure and the blame that the fans and the media love putting on when anything goes wrong. Everton don’t have to worry about Barkley dealing with pressure anymore, but you sense that Pickford has a much wiser head on his shoulders.
Exactly what England need
Gareth Southgate seemed happy with Pickford’s performance and it looks as though he might have edged himself ahead in the race to become England’s number one. He has given Everton fans reason to be cheerful this season and his leadership and command from the back have been great to see. He was exactly what Everton were looking for, and hopefully England, too.
It’s been a tough season for Everton, but the one player who has held his hand up and kept up his standards has been Pickford. He is a leader in many senses and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as a captain in the future. He has been in great form for a while now and hopefully his reward is a place in England’s World Cup side.