Everton great Neville Southall does not believe there is a better choice to be England’s number one than Jordan Pickford.
Jordan Pickford has plenty to improve on but there is not a better English goalkeeper, says Everton great Neville Southall.
Pickford endured a difficult campaign for Everton last season, making four errors that led directly to goals only Martin Dubravka had more with five – as Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished 12th.
Despite the impressive form of Dean Henderson and Nick Pope, however, Pickford kept his spot in Gareth Southgate’s England side for Nations League clashes with Iceland and Denmark in September.
Everton great Southall believes it was the right choice from Southgate and insists Pickford has come in for unfair criticism.
“I think it’s quite simple. Is there a better English goalkeeper? No there’s not, so he’s got to be England’s number one,” Southall told Stats Perform News.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that. Who else are you going to play? No disrespect to the others, but they’re not as good as him.
“Was he due a bad season? I suppose he was, but on the flip side I thought he probably cost Everton nine points, but probably saved them six, so he’s three down.
“Three points down over a season, it’s not bad really is it. When you look at it like that. For me, he was always going to get some stick.
“You can see, with people like Joe Hart and Rob Green, once you get in the England team it seems to be just a free-for-all where people batter you. Whatever you do is wrong.
“I don’t think Jordan has let England down at all, if Gareth is judging him on what he does for England. When has he had a bad game for England? If I was England manager, I’d be picking him because he’d not let me down.”
Southall also feels Pickford has to set himself the target of becoming one of the world’s best goalkeepers if he is to truly fulfil his potential.
“If I was Ancelotti, I’d be sitting him down and pushing him to another height. See what he can improve on and get it done,” Southall added.
“Where do you want to go? Do you want to be the best in the world or England’s number one?
“If you want to be England’s number one, I don’t want you to be at the club really, I want you to be the world’s number one. He’s got to push his expectations.
“Maybe he should set himself to be the best in the world, not in England. Maybe you’ve got to set your sights differently. People might say that’s stupid, but it doesn’t stop ambition or having the drive to be the best.
“In fact, the drive to be the best will get himself out of a mini-slump. Without the ambition and the arrogance to think that you’re going to be number one in the world, you’re always going to stay at the same level.”