Carlo Ancelotti must get ruthless with Jordan Pickford and ditch the ‘arm around the shoulder approach’ following the Everton goalkeeper’s latest blunder against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 26-year-old gifted the Seagulls a welcome equaliser just before half-time in Saturday’s Premier League encounter at Goodison Park, when Pickford unpardonably dropped the ball at Neal Maupay’s feet just yards from his goal line.
Pickford was entirely unchallenged as he attempted to catch Leandro Trossard’s tame strike, that had bounced up off the ground, and was thankful for his teammates’ efforts as Everton swiftly regained the lead through Yerry Mina, before a second-half double from James Rodriguez secured the win.
However, concern must be high on Merseyside heading into the international break as Pickford’s glaring error came as only the latest in a string of blunders that makes the £100,000-per-week shot-stopper the joint-most error-prone player in the Premier League since the start of last season and one who has committed 11 mistakes leading to goals since 2017.
Only Newcastle United’s Martin Dubravka has made as many errors (five) as Pickford has since the start of last season’s campaign, with the Toffees’ number one also at fault for both of Fleetwood Town’s goals in last month’s 5-2 Carabao Cup victory with two more howlers.
Pickford was caught out in possession at Highbury for Mark Duffy’s strike and failed to complete the basics when he flapped at the ball following Callum Camps’ effort that was hit straight at him.
Now, Ancelotti must ditch the ‘nicely does it approach’ that managers have previously favoured and get ruthless, with the Italian well-aware that there are no real alternatives to the former Sunderland man currently to hand.
Ancelotti is reportedly set to hold crunch talks with Pickford following his latest blunder, with the Daily Mail understanding that a face-to-face meeting is scheduled once the shot-stopper returns from international duty.
With those talks scheduled after the summer window closes, it suggests th`t Ancelotti has no intentions of dropping Pickford or searching in the transfer market for a new ‘keeper before the window slams shut on Monday evening
Therefore, Ancelotti must get real with Pickford and tear into him for all of his errors, as the 26-year-old does not appear to be learning from his mistakes as they continue to happen time and time again, giving opposing teams greater confidence that they can pile on the pressure. His track record suggests that the £30million signing is likely to wilt under such pressue as he continues to be an occasional disaster.