The Chalkboard: Jordan Pickford’s excellent kicking ability should be utilised more

In the impressive 1-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday, Everton created enough chances to win the game by three or four goals such was the frequency at which they managed to get in behind the Gunners.

The main feature of the match was Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s tireless running into the channels, which caused Sokratis, Nacho Monreal and Shkodran Mustafi all sorts of problems as they found themselves stretched.

However, another good ploy from Marco Silva’s side was Jordan Pickford’s impressive kicking out from the back.

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It is no secret that the England international is good with his feet, as seen in numerous fixtures this season and with the national team – if you remember his pass into Harry Kane for Raheem Sterling’s opening goal against Spain, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The former Sunderland keeper managed to use his gargantuan kicks to good effect against Unai Emery’s side. On a few occasions, his long balls found Calvert-Lewin, who was able to head it into space for Richarlison or run onto it himself.

Gareth Southgate has already highlighted the 25-year-old’s technical ability in the past, and it is an aspect of his game that Silva doesn’t truly utilise enough at club level – we’ve even seen him pick up an assist at England Under-21 level in the past.

That isn’t to say that Pickford’s kicking ability would be as effective as it was against Arsenal as it would be in every game, certainly not.

Obviously, the Gunners looked to start higher up the field and press the ball, rather than sit deep like a team such as Burnley or Huddersfield would – for matches against those two, his kicking wouldn’t be as effective.

However, when the ‘Top Six’ come to take on Everton and sit their centre-backs right on the halfway line, this is where Pickford should tell Calvert-Lewin to get on the shoulder of the last man and chase every ball he can.

If the Toffees can utilise Pickford’s technical ability, like we’ve seen Liverpool do with Alisson and Manchester City do with Ederson, then Everton will have another string added to their bow.

Article title: The Chalkboard: Jordan Pickford’s excellent kicking ability should be utilised more

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