Jordan Pickford is likely finding the jump up from Sunderland to Everton much trickier than he envisaged during the summer. Counter-intuitively, goalkeeping is often a simpler task in relegation-bound sides because the men between the sticks are so frequently tested and kept on their toes. Accordingly, there are plenty more chances to look heroic for the cameras and far more opportunities to make amends for errors – goalkeeping at a big club of Everton’s variety, on the other hand, is all about minimising mistakes and maintaining consistency.
That’s not to say Everton’s start to the season is drastically different to Sunderland’s last term, with just seven points gained from as many games. The key variation, however, is that Pickford hasn’t exact covered himself in glory this time around. Although the performances of the ten players in front of him have been the far greater concern, Pickford’s managed to claim just one clean sheet, while conceding eleven times.
And yet, the most appealing aspects of the 23-year-old’s game are still evident enough. For a goalkeeper so young, Pickford’s incredibly assertive, something highlighted by not only his 17 saves this term but also his 20 catches – the most of the four goalkeepers who were called up to Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
Indeed, Pickford – who Transfermarkt value at £13.5million – still appears to have a bright future ahead of him for both club and country, but in terms of England’s No.1 berth, the World Cup in Russia feels a little too soon. Pickford’s yet to be capped at senior level and his form for Everton this season hasn’t quite been enough to overtake Stoke City’s Jack Butland in the pecking order, or usurp Joe Hart from his starting role.
But do you agree, Everton fans? Let us know who you think should be England’s No.1 at the World Cup by voting below…