England’s national team coach, Gareth Southgate has insisted that he has not seen a serious competitor that can take the place of his first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The coach has always been criticized for showing a preference for Pickford who joined the Three Lions of England in 2017. Southgate’s loyalty to the 26-year-old Everton goalkeeper has never been in doubt as he has stuck with him despite having other talents like Nick Pope of Burnley and Dean Henderson of Manchester United.
On the part of the goalkeeper, he has not disappointed the trust the coach has in him as he has maintained a fair form for both club and country so far. For instance, since November 10, 2017, when Jordan Pickford made his debut for the national team, he has garnered 28 caps. In those appearances, he has kept 12 clean sheets for the national team.
His performance has helped England national team to win two matches, draw one and lose one in four UEFA Nations League games this season. Though this performance only helped the team to remain 3rd on Group 2 table of the competition behind Belgium and Denmark, that has not changed Southgate’s stand on the goalkeeper.
Despite the standings of England in the Nations League campaign, the country’s head coach might stick with Pickford in November’s matches against the Republic of Ireland on November 12, Belgium on November 15, and Iceland on November 18.
Even the controversial tackle Pickford made on Liverpool’s defender Virgil van Dijk during the Merseyside derby which led to a long-term injury on the defender would not affect the choice of Southgate in the country’s subsequent matches.
“When people say I have been loyal to him he has deserved that,” Southgate said on Pickford.
“His performances have been excellent for us and so that has not been a difficult decision for me.
“We have some competition for places but I would have to say that there is nobody who I think is challenging seriously at the moment to push him out of that position.
“I think he is also benefiting from as experienced and successful a manager as you can have at club level.
“[Everton’s coach Carlo Ancelotti] will deal with everything in a very calm manner and a very measured way, so even over the years he has taken an opportunity to rest his goalkeepers – and he did that last week – but within 15 minutes of that decision, you knew Jordan would be playing this weekend.
“Of course this has been a very difficult period for [Pickford] in terms of the spotlight on that particular challenge and because of the profile of the player involved in it, but it is disappointing to see a player like that miss football.”
He's given his backing to Jordan Pickford – on and off the field… pic.twitter.com/rBjzNPUGSS— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) November 5, 2020
Though Pickford helped Everton to a very beautiful start to the Premier League season where they occupied the top spot for weeks before they relinquished it to Liverpool, his form has not been as superb as expected. This season, he has only managed to keep one clean sheet out of 6 league matches. So far, he has conceded 9 goals in the league.