It has been a strange year or so for England’s talented young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Last season the 24-year-old suffered relegation with Sunderland, yet came out of the campaign with a lot of credit.
His impressive displays for the Black Cats earned him a £30million move to ambitious Everton in the summer. The campaign has turned into a wasted one for the Toffees. However, Pickford has been one of the few positives for the men from Merseyside.
Not looking out of place for England
Pickford’s form for Everton led to an international debut for England in November, when the former Sunderland stopper kept a clean sheet against world champions Germany.
He made a number of saves against Die Mannschaft, which also led to Pickford starting in the Three Lions 1-0 win against the Netherlands on Friday night in a friendly international.
The Everton ‘keeper once again looked confident and even started the move that created the winning goal with a composed piece of play, taking on a Dutch player before finding John Stones with a short pass.
Fits in with Gareth Southgate’s style
England boss Gareth Southgate is attempting to create a style of play where his team play the ball out from the back, which includes the goalkeeper.
Along with shot-stopping distribution is one of Pickford’s strengths, both with his feet and his hands. He is the best goalkeeper in the England squad with the ball at his feet.
The likes of Stoke’s Jack Butland and Burnley’s Nick Pope are good shot stoppers. Butland is highly-rated and been in decent form for the Potters this season.
Pope has enjoyed a very solid breakthrough season at Burnley. He is arguably the most in-form ‘keeper in the squad. However, neither of the goalkeepers have the same ability of Pickford for his quick distribution and thinking.
The most experienced goalkeeper in the squad is Joe Hart. However, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola jettisoned the 30-year-old last season, as the Catalan boss felt he was not good enough with his feet to play the boss’s preferred style of play.
Hart has struggled for game time at West Ham, too. In terms of form this season, he should not be starting for the Three Lions in Russia.
Looks a certainty to go to Russia
Even prior to Friday night’s performance, Jordan Pickford looked set to be one of England’s 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup. According to the bookmakers, he is now the same odds as the likes of Dele Alli, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling to make the squad.
In other words, barring any injury problems, the Everton goalkeeper will be in Southgate’s squad this summer. Pickford has received a lot of praise from his boss for the display against the Dutch.
Southgate is likely to rotate his squad for Tuesday’s friendly game against Italy at Wembley. The other goalkeepers may get a runout. However, it now seems that former-Sunderland stopper Pickford will be lining up for the Three Lions in-between the sticks in Russia.
Is Jordan Pickford now England’s number one?