Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Robin Olsen will start in goal for Everton’s trip to Leeds United on Wednesday night, with Jordan Pickford ruled out with injury.
Pickford sustained the blow during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United after a collision with the post, which caused an issue with his ribs.
The 26-year-old was making his 17th start of the Premier League season against the Toon, and Ancelotti hopes he will be able to return to action for Saturday’s match against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Olsen has only opened two top-flight fixtures since joining Everton on loan from AS Roma last summer, last featuring between the sticks in a 2-0 win at Leicester City after conceding twice in defeat to Newcastle in November.
Pickford joins midfielders Allan and Jean-Philippe Gbamin in being sidelined for the Blues’ midweek trip to Elland Road, with the pair out with hamstring and Achilles injuries.
But Ancelotti is set to welcome Fabian Delph back from a hamstring problem picked up at Burnley in December.
“Fabian Delph is back in the squad. Allan and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are not available yet,” Ancelotti said. “Jordan Pickford will also be out. Robin Olsen will start the game.
“I think it [Pickford’s injury] happened when he made a save towards the end of the game against Newcastle. I think he touched the post, and he had a problem on his rib.
“He will not be available for the [Leeds] game, but I hope for Saturday [against Manchester United] he will be available.”
Ancelotti ruling Pickford out and confirming Olsen will start in goal at Leeds on Wednesday night may seem like a huge blow for Everton, yet it may also serve as a blessing in disguise.
The Italian tactician kept his faith in Pickford against Newcastle, despite the England number one delivering his latest blunder at home to Leicester City last week as he could only palm Youri Tielemans’ shot onto the post and into the net despite getting both hands on the midfielder’s shot.
He bounced back to produce a wonderful reflex save to deny Callum Wilson with a superb fingertip effort in the first half on Saturday, but could do nothing to stop his compatriot from scoring in the second half when the Magpies striker’s header sailed past his desperate dive.
Now, Ancelotti is forced to drop Pickford yet knowing the move will not impact his confidence. All the while, not seeing Everton take a step down in quality.
“Honestly, when there is a big difference between the first and the second goalkeeper, I was not used to rotating the players. But when the quality of both of them is quite the same, I was used to rotating. Like I did in Real Madrid and in Napoli and like I am doing here,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by The Telegraph, following the Leicester game.
“In this case, Jordan and Olsen, I have a lot of confidence in them. Jordan is younger but he plays a lot of games in the Premier League. Olsen is more experienced, maybe with less individual quality.”
Olsen hasn’t really put a foot wrong in his Everton career so far and against a Leeds side full of confidence, his seemingly more stable manner could be more beneficial to The Blues than the very up and down Pickford.
AND in other news, the exit of a £28k-p/w dud is great news for a “gifted” Everton outcast…