Latest Pickford blunder puts Everton keeper in line for England chop
Sunday brought about another error from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and his starting spot for England now appears to be in serious jeopardy.
Pickford has been England’s number one since the 2018 World Cup in Russia and he won the hearts of the Barmy Army during that major tournament, saving Colombia striker Carlo Bacca’s spot-kick as the Three Lions won their first-ever penalty shootout in a World Cup.
However, the 25-year-old has come under criticism over the past couple of seasons and, not for the first time, he was under the spotlight in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Goodison Park.
With the Toffees leading 1-0 after goalkeeper David de Gea’s clearance deflected off Dominic Calvert-Lewin and into the back of the net, United levelled the scores when Bruno Fernandes’ long-range effort somehow went in.
The Portugal international’s effort should have been saved by Pickford at the near post, only for the shot-stopper to effectively throw his arms over the ball and gift the Red Devils an equaliser.
According to Opta, there is no player in the Premier League who has made more errors leading to goals than Pickford in the past two seasons – Sunday’s error was his seventh such mistake.
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was clearly unimpressed by the Everton keeper in the Sky Sports studios, saying: “The bottom line with Pickford, I don’t need to see the stats. I know he’s not a good goalkeeper. He’s not up to it.”
After Keane’s comments and another error from Pickford, is now the time for England boss Gareth Southgate to look at other options? The simple answer to this is, yes.
Dean Henderson has enjoyed a terrific season on loan at Sheffield United from the Red Devils, keeping nine clean sheets and helping the Blades climb to eighth position – just two points behind his parent club.
The 22-year-old may not have earned a cap for the Three Lions’ senior side yet, but he has shown great maturity this season and is surely pushing for a chance to impress in the March friendlies.
Another keeper in line to start is Burnley’s Nick Pope, who leads the Premier League’s clean sheet department with a magnificent 11 to his name. The 27-year-old has developed fantastically over the past couple of years and is itching to be England’s number one.
The main thing to take out of this is that both Henderson and Pope are outperforming Pickford, who only appears to be another mistake away from losing his starting position on the international stage.