Jordan Pickford has been Everton’s hero this season, but his incredible work between the sticks will save much more than the Toffees’ Premier League status.
It looked like the 28-year-old’s spot as England’s No. 1 was in serious jeopardy this season, with Pickford‘s team suffering defeat after defeat whilst Arsenal new boy Aaron Ramsdale showed his worth.
Everton have conceded 56 goals this season and as the unflattering scorelines kept flooding in for the Merseyside outfit, the more eyes turned to Pickford.
The Toffees keeper has been Gareth Southgate’s first choice keeper in the last two major tournaments, keeping the likes of Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone out of the starting XI.
But as he kept leaking goals, the Gunners’ new No.1, Ramsdale, was turning heads after usurping Bernd Leno in style at the Emirates.
Arsenal are challenging for Champions League qualification with the 23-year-old between the sticks, and the young keeper was soon touted to be England‘s next first choice stopper.
This was the case for Mark Bosnich back in October following the keeper’s impressive saves against Leicester City.
“He was outstanding,” the former Chelsea and Manchester United stopper told talkSPORT. “I looked at him and thought, ‘that’s England’s number one at the moment’.”
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However, while the results have been bad, Pickford has been a shining light at Goodison Park.
Now his saves against Chelsea and Leicester in their last two games have reignited Everton’s survival hopes as well as his chances of remaining as England’s goalkeeper at the upcoming World Cup.
The former Sunderland shot-stopper has pulled off countless double saves to stop the Toffees from suffering worse defeats this season, including against Manchester City.
But it was Pickford’s Man of the Match display against Chelsea that could help cement his place at the top of the Three Lions’ goalkeeper pecking order and prove pivotal in their bid for survival.
The England international pulled off a mesmerising double save, diving to one side at Mason Mount’s drilled effort, before leaping to the other to palm away Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal-bound shot.
The double-save helped his side claim a 1-0 victory and three vital points which have aided their climb out of the relegation zone.
Pickford then led his side to all three points again against Leicester on Sunday, acrobatically stopping Nampalys Mendy’s shot to send it around the post and then preventing Harvey Barnes from netting too.
His rise in form, coupled with his improved discipline and passion for the game demonstrate that Pickford still very much deserves to be Southgate’s go-to man.
And Pickford’s impressive displays haven’t gone unnoticed by his former managers.
Former Everton and England manager Sam Allardyce spoke to talkSPORT Breakfast on Tuesday about his ex-club’s survival hopes, and he was quick to give credit their star man.
“This time around Frank [Lampard] has pulled off two fantastic wins. I have to give a big thanks to Jordan Pickford who I know extremely well.” Allardyce told talkSPORT.
He continued: “He made his debut when I was at Sunderland when I was there and worked with him at Everton. I think he has been the hero for Everton with the saves he’s made in the last two games.
“They’ve been at the right time and absolutely class and outstanding and that’s the big reason why Everton have got the points in the bag.”
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