England manager Gareth Southgate has announced that Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will start in goal against the Netherlands in their first of two friendlies in the international break as the England boss looks to make a decision on who should be his starting goalkeeper at this summer’s World Cup.
“Jordan Pickford will play in goal tomorrow night,”
“He is a very agile goalkeeper, quick around his goals, he is capable of making big saves, his distribution is excellent – a really outstanding distributor of the ball with his feet which is how we want to play.”
It was interesting to hear Southgate pick out Pickford’s distribution in his praise of the 24 year old keeper from Washington (near Sunderland). Whilst Pickford is often praised for his distribution – particularly that special side winder volley of his – it casts further doubt over Joe Hart’s place in the squad having been axed from Manchester City by Pep Guardiola due to his inability to play with the ball at his feet to the level that Guardiola required.
Southgate believes this is a great opportunity for Pickford to gain more experience at this level following a solid performance against Germany.
Whilst the debate rages on over who will be England’s number 1 this summer, Southgate still hasn’t made his mind up completely, although he does know who he would pick right now if the tournament started tomorrow.
“I know who it would be if we played tomorrow but I think we’ve still got plenty of football to be played,”
“It is a very tight call at the moment because there is four guys in the squad who have justifiable claims for different reasons.
There is a lot of pressure on any of the 4 goalkeepers who are asked to perform in the upcoming friendlies for England but we’re sure that every single one of them would love to be on that field staking a claim for their position in the squad – it remains to be seen how Pickford will handle the pressure of knowing he has a big chance in his hands.