Pickford earns his England stripes and, hopefully, some respect from his doubters

The criticism of Jordan Pickford by some pundits, commentators and journalists came quickly at this World Cup but he answered them brilliantly against Colombia

Lyndon Lloyd 04/07/2018 53comments  |  Jump to last

The criticism of Jordan Pickford by some pundits, commentators and journalists came quickly at this World Cup and was so unsurprising, it felt almost worthless even bringing it up as a point of discussion. As sure as night follows day, the national media and a few of the cabal of figures from the game past and present wheeled out onto the BBC and ITV sets for coverage of the events in Russia went into build-them-up-knock-‘em-down mode.

The recipient of the hatchet treatment before the tournament was Raheem Stirling for his ill-advised but ostensibly insignificant gun tattoo. Following England’s first defeat in this summer’s Finals, it was Pickford who was derided for being too short for a goalkeeper and for opting to attempt to save Adnan Januzaj’s winner for Belgium last Thursday with “his wrong hand.”

No matter that Neville Southall, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time and certainly the best around at the peak of his powers in the mid-1980s, was also 6’ 1”. What he lacked in Courtoisian height he made up for in sheer spring, reflexes, agility and reading of the game.

And the decision to go with his left rather than the glove closer to the trajectory of the ball has been backed by almost all other goalkeepers — Courtois was one inexplicable critic — and yet, while he shouldn’t have needed to, it still felt like Pickford had to put in a redemptive performance against Colombia last night to silence a few of those critics. Of course, a great goalkeeper will provide plenty of evidence proving his worth in the natural course of a match and that was the case in England’s Round of 16 win in Moscow.

He was handed the opportunity to be a hero during the penalty shootout and he produced, thrusting up a strong hand to stop Carlos Bacca’s spot kick and setting former Everton reserve player, Eric Dier, to send England through. It will go down as a memorable World Cup moment for the nation but, depending on how far England progress, it’s significance and reverence could also be further magnified.

Yet his best moment, one that should go down as one of the saves of the tournament, will be largely forgotten outside of Merseyside and Wearside because Colombia’s equaliser would come from the resulting corner and the penalty drama that would unfold half an hour later. It established, however, his first credential as a world-class goalkeeper on the international stage. Mateus Uribe’s brilliant half-volleyed injury time shot from 30 yards was amazing in its own right but it was eclipsed by a seemingly impossible save by Pickford where he seemed to take flight to claw the ball away from his top corner. He had had very little to do for 90-plus minutes but he was alert when called upon at the crucial moment.

Everton’s relationship with the England team, analysed on these pages after the last World Cup in Brazil, has been a complicated and sometimes strained one, not usually favourable to the Blues. The churlish, reflex, almost vindictive criticism of a player not representing one of the big six clubs gave further weight to the trepidation that many Evertonians feel when their players are called away for England duty.

The media will be waiting to pounce on his next slip, perceived or otherwise — he is still relatively young with only eight caps after all but you hope it won’t be too costly. You also get the feeling, though, that Everton’s No.1 has the talent, maturity and fortitude to keep putting the doubters back in their place. Vindication was sweet for Jordan Pickford last night; for the Toffees it’s further proof that the club nabbed a good ‘un when they signed him from Sunderland

Reader Comments (53)

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Brian Williams
1 Posted 04/07/2018 at 07:42:39
I was still shouting about that incredible save in normal time, telling my son that save has just won us the game, when England conceded from the ensuing corner.

When Colombia scored from the corner, I told my son that Jordan's save would be totally overlooked now because of what happened.

Justice was done though with his match-winning save during the shoot-out.

I'm hoping now that in the forthcoming TV furore the TV companies and pundits will see fit to show the save and the British footballing public will see just how good it was.

Steve Ferns
2 Posted 04/07/2018 at 07:58:12
I hope so too, Brian.
Victor Yu
3 Posted 04/07/2018 at 08:02:55
Now that his reputation is growing, it is a matter of time before a big club comes in for him.
Jer Kiernan
4 Posted 04/07/2018 at 09:01:58
@ Victor,

Dont worry, we are now a big club... right?

Victor Yu
5 Posted 04/07/2018 at 09:04:48
Not exactly.

Imagine if De Gea leaves Man Utd and they want Pickford. Surely he would not turn down the opportunity.

Ian Burns
7 Posted 04/07/2018 at 10:15:52
Lyndon, getting ahead of yourself - it wasn't a quarter final win but a last 16 win - but point taken.

Incredible save at the end of the game and if they hadn't scored from the corner it would have gone down as one of THE great world cup saves.

As it happened, we ended up with a different story - the penalty save, which was also one hell of a stop worthy of the history it might create.

Ray Smith
8 Posted 04/07/2018 at 13:16:36
Really pleased for Jordan.

He answered all the doubters and knockers in the best way possible, on the pitch.

Gary (Peter Perfect) Neville knows very little about goalkeeping, and Lee Dixon isn’t much better. They should get behind the team instead of nit picking.

Nice to see Shilton, Clemenceau and Seaman congratulating Jordan. Now they were goalkeepers of the highest calibre, and if they had criticised Jordan, they would have said so, but they didn’t.

So as far as I’m concerned Neville and Dixon can stick their heads where the sun doesn’t shine.

Danny Baily
9 Posted 04/07/2018 at 13:41:49
Pickford certainly deserves his moment! I love the way that he is seemingly completely unfazed by anything.

He wasn't terrible because he had an unconvincing performance against Panama. Similarly, he is not suddenly world class now he's saved a penalty against Colombia. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Darren Hind
10 Posted 04/07/2018 at 13:58:49
Didnt see your post Brian.

I've just said something similar on another thread. I cant stop watching that save. It was one of the best I've seen.

The Gordon Banks save from Pele is still, quite rightly, shown and admired nearly fifty years on even though we lost the game. Lets hope Jordan's gets the same recognition. I`m not saying his was a better save, but I genuinely feel it was in that bracket

Paul Kelly
11 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:04:06
No better way to silence the critics than a display like that, 2 moments of pure magic and solid display all around.

I must say though, that save, best of the tournament so far and it looks better in normal speed than slo-mo, weirdly.

Steve Ferns
12 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:10:57
Don't worry about De Gea. Real Madrid have been circling for ages. I read that the Spanish fans mainly see him in the CL, the big PL showdowns, and mostly in international matches. They were sceptical about his abilities before the World Cup, and have viewed his performances at the World Cup as confirming their doubts. So, will Real Madrid really cough up the money Man Utd would want? There's no chance Utd lower their price, as they will point to how good De Gea is for them, and not give a stuff about mistakes for Spain. So, surely De Gea is staying put.
Don Alexander
13 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:26:00
Darren (#10), I agree it was on the pedestal vying with Banksie as a great, greatest save, a save that very much reminded me of Nev in his prime. There can be no greater praise.
Lenny Jameson
14 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:35:12
It reminded me of the save Gordon West made in the semi final in 1969. About 5 minutes to go, someone hit a shot that was screaming into the top corner. Westy launched himself to his right and tipped it over. Fantastic. The feller next to me said, "You've gone white!" I couldn't believe he'd save it.
City scored from the corner. We were out!!!
Steve Ferns
15 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:39:07
Don, echoes of the save against Spurs?
Jay Wood

16 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:51:38
I too have been replaying repeatedly- and sharing! - that magnificent slow-mo replay of Jordan's astonishing save. It's a thing of great beauty!

Typically, you have some commentators describing it as 'unnecessary... it cost us the game in 90 minutes [because] it was going wide'.

The nimbleness of his feet, the launch, the streeeecccchhh of his left arm, the strength in his fingertips to ensure the ball deflects wide...it was all top, top draw.

The failing at the resulting corner (Colombia's first in the game, at 93 minutes!) was the defence for not having two men blocking the run and leap of the known threat of Mina.

I blame neither Trippier on the post - very difficult to anticipate and react to a hard hit bouncing ball so close to you - and certainly not Jordan for conceding the goal.

Here in Brazil, at the end of each day, there is a WC round-up program. One of the sitting guests is Brazil's keeper at the last WC, Julio Cesar.

Naturally, he commented on the respective goalkeepers in the England-Colombia game. He actually focussed more on the respective performances of Jordan and Ospina in the decisive penalty shootout.

He flagged up how for the decisive Dier penalty Ospina actually gets a glove on it, but for Cesar "he doesn't go with conviction. His arm isn't fully extended and so his palm isn't strong enough to defend the ball."

By contrast, he saw Jordan as being more confident and decisive and how quickly he reacted to Bacca's penalty with a strong straight arm to beat the ball away.

Another endorsement from one of the world's top keepers for our boy!

Steve Ferns
17 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:57:44
It was a strong hand Jay, the ball didn't force it back a millimetre. The boy must have strong wrists.

He's getting some accolades in the written press too. I thought I had picked up on a fondness from the print journos towards our Jordan, Henry Winter shooting down a pundit on talk shite criticising his intelligence, another print journo pointing out he hadn't gone with his wrong hand against Belgium, and then his old mate David Preece fighting his corner on every show he goes on. Chris Kirkland was also saying Pickford was the best he ever played with.

I think there's a lot to be said for how Southgate has handled the media and how he's got the media on friendly terms with the players and they now feel obliged to be protective of their mates the players. Long may it continue.

Rudi Coote
18 Posted 04/07/2018 at 14:58:22
He's added another £10 mill to any transfer fee. Will we be able to keep him? We'll have to see.
Liam Reilly
19 Posted 04/07/2018 at 16:47:32
Incredible save; as good as a goal at the other end cause it's a 1 in 100 stop.

RTE in Ireland talked about it as a wonderful save but I didn't here ITV even mention it.

Did hear Neville talk about Brazil though and naming each of their attackers as a threat (except Firmino).

Safe to say he hates them too.

John Pierce
20 Posted 04/07/2018 at 17:13:47
Having seen plenty of Pickford, there are things to work on. This site threw up some examples as the latter stages of the season dragged it’s sorry ass to a halt.

But penalties are not one of those things. He went correctly on each penalty bar Falcao. A detail he revealed in his interview based on his and the coaches research.

As such I thought he went too early on all of them, I guess if you know which way you are going regardless why not go early!?

I think only Falcao had the intelligence to wait. Pickford is confident and actually increasingly single minded I think he has a very high ceiling. Southgate has, handled all his media duties very well, and re Pickford batted away any suggestions of wavering over him.

We will need him at Wolves day one that’s for sure!

Peter Mills
21 Posted 04/07/2018 at 17:54:46
I, too, have watched Jordan’s save from the volley several times today, and honestly cannot recall having seen a better one in my life.

The Gordon Banks save was magnificent, superbly athletic, but largely instinctive (although not many people have such instincts). Pickford, on the other hand (sic) had to watch a high, swerving, dipping ball, adjust his feet, leap, look as though he was going to reach with his right hand then went with his left, and stretched as far as he possibly could. And all the time, presumably, assessing whether he should just allow the ball to drift a millimetre outside his post! A campaign is needed to have this save fully recognised rather than it being lost amidst the shoot-out euphoria.

Jordan had a very good season but he did struggle with a couple of shots high to his left and right. He seems to be a very, very quick learner, and could become better than very good.

Incidentally, I think he went to his right for all the penalties last night. We saw him save one on that side last season, I wonder whether he will stick or twist if faced with any more spot-kicks?

Danny Broderick
22 Posted 04/07/2018 at 17:57:59
I think some balance is needed when we talk about Pickford. The lad has all the potential in the world and I am glad he is our keeper. He makes good saves and his kicking is good.

However, he does have doubters, mainly because he has let in a lot of goals in the last 2 seasons, and he also has a tendency to push the ball back out into the danger area when he makes a save (as opposed to pushing it over the bar or out wide).

I don’t think he has had any over the top criticism. He is a young keeper still learning and, like De Gea a few years back, he has a mistake in him. But hopefully the mistakes will happen less and less, and he will give the defenders more confidence in him as he becomes a bit calmer with age.

Last night’s display will have done him the world of good, but he is still learning. He’s not suddenly the finished article because of that brilliant save he made near the end.

Steve Ferns
23 Posted 04/07/2018 at 19:01:38
Peter, where Jordan went for the penalties was where he was told. If you listen he said they predicted the right way on 4/5 of the pens.

Danny, no one on here is declaring him world class, we're enjoying sticking two fingers up at those who made ridiculous criticism of him, particularly the “experts” like Neville who have never played in goal, whilst the real experts like Shilton, Southall and Preece called bullshit.

Anyone see the amazing stat on Pickford running more than any other keeper so far? Almost double what the rest have done. 7.5 km last night. Lukaku only did 8 km against Panama!

Darren Hind
24 Posted 04/07/2018 at 19:14:33
If you haven't seen Jordan Pickford's arl fella celebrating last nights shoot out, get on YouTube and have a look.

"He's a fucking legend"
"He's a fucking legend"
"He's a fucking legend"

Fucking hilarious

Jay Wood

25 Posted 04/07/2018 at 20:05:08
Steve @ 23.

I saw that incredible stat too Steve, that Pickford covered nearly 7.5 km in last night's match. Here is the Echo story:


Probably the key reason Southgate wants to employ him as his 'sweeper keeper.'

It's a real 'love in' on social media with Jordan today! His name and the slow-mo video of his save was trending big time on many platforms.

Paul Birmingham
26 Posted 04/07/2018 at 22:55:49
Immense character and steely determination. Bodes well for the rebuilt of the team and transformation of the club. Great saves, Jordan. Evertonians and the nation are very proud of you.

Hopefully the arseholes that are many in football media will now keep their cake holes shut.

Karl Meighan
27 Posted 05/07/2018 at 01:09:21
Courtois ate shit with his "im 10cm taller and would have caught Janazzi's shot" he never sniffed either of the Japan goals, the 2nd one beaten from outside the box along the ground, hardly keeping of the highest standard dickhead.

Pickford will make mistakes all keepers do and I don't think he will get carried away making a couple of good saves either.

Pickfords reaction was what we expect from are players, Courtois well he is a Chelsea player so should we really be suprised.

Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 05/07/2018 at 01:42:26
Looks like Pickford might have a chance to get well acquainted with the guy who scored the goal.

Reports have us in for Mina from Barca: http://www.goal.com/en/news/everton-launch-24m-bid-for-barcelona-star-mina/5h4vkdk2bs0y184ml9ntqpead

Joe Clitherow
29 Posted 05/07/2018 at 12:26:41
To those saying Pickford is not a World Class keeper:

When someone makes the outstanding save of a World Cup Finals tournament, and then follows it up minutes later with one from a penalty which I consider equally as good, and actually much more significant in the game, what the Absolute Eff is your definition of "World Class"? By these incidents, Pickford certainly fits mine whilst also not being defined as a 'perfect' goalkeeper.

Presumably the much more experienced De Gea and Courtois are World Class? Have you seen the two howlers De Gea has made in these finals, at least one of which was significant in a match? Have you seen the goals Courtois let in the other day, plus a spill which he had to scramble to retrieve?

Please get some perspective and objective measures for comparison.

Paul ONeill
30 Posted 05/07/2018 at 12:42:47
At the risk of sounding chippy, I get the impression the jeering mob would have been fawning over him had he been playing for certain other clubs regardless of performance.
Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 05/07/2018 at 14:50:31
Pickford certainly has Henderson's respect and gratitude:

"I thanked him, I can’t thank him enough, I’m forever in his debt. He says the Mackems stick together!

“You obviously fear the worst when you miss the penalty but Pickers has done brilliantly with the save. We’re a really close group, I think you can see that.

“It’s difficult when you miss and nothing can be said that’s going to make it alright but it’s not about me, it doesn’t really matter now, we won and that’s the main thing.”

Ray Smith
32 Posted 05/07/2018 at 17:45:03
Further to my last (#8), Bryan Robson is now having a pop at Southgate.

Robson was considered by many to be the epitome of an England player. Would run through a brick wall for the team!

Well, Brya,n take your head out of your backside and get behind (excuse the pun) the team!!!

Peter Morris
33 Posted 05/07/2018 at 18:01:04
The truth is, if Pickford played for one of the so-called ‘big 6', we wouldn't be getting any of this nonsense from the media. That said, if he goes on to have a storming tournament, and heaven knows, England even win it, the media focus will be on getting him transferred to one of the ‘big 6'. I'm afraid that is Everton's lot nowadays.
Lee Paige
34 Posted 05/07/2018 at 18:30:47
You should read the BBC article “World Cup 2018: 'No mistake, it was deserved' – England pundit reaction”.

Hardly a mention of our Pickford, very strange considering we wouldn't be through without him. I don't know how they do it, but they do.

Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 05/07/2018 at 18:32:38
Peter (#33), a lot of truth in that. Alternatively, if Jordan performs against the Swedes as he did versus Belgium, they will have another go at him. Right or wrong – that's the way the media perform.
Steve Ferns
36 Posted 05/07/2018 at 18:48:54
It's the way of the world, Dave. Just look on here, people are either great or shit. We live in sensationalist times and most of us are guilty of it. Social media fuels a lot of it.
Gary Russell
37 Posted 06/07/2018 at 06:18:27
Yes Lee, it's nothing short of outrageous. He is mentioned once in the whole article.
Danny Baily
38 Posted 06/07/2018 at 08:13:28
Joe 29, an outstanding save at an international tournament doesn't qualify a player as world class in most people's opinion I suspect. (Having said that, Schmichel's performance the other day will have swayed a few people's minds!)

The question is, how confident do you feel with Jordan between the sticks? Mistake aside, I'd feel very confident in De Gea's ability. That's why he's world class.

Jack Convery
39 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:10:05
Hear hear, Lyndon. If he makes a mistake against Sweden, god help him!
Colin Glassar
40 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:12:51
Nice touch from Courtois, clearing up his jibe at Jordan.
Dave Williams
41 Posted 07/07/2018 at 09:01:49
Stunning save which even the great Neville Southall would not have made. Nev couldn't have got that high off the ground even at his peak – West might have done but that really was an awesome save.

Jordan needs to work hard at his craft like Neville's always did and iron out the deficiencies, which will come with more experience, but he has the potential to be one of the very best.

Barry Williams
42 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:59:19
Lee Paige (#34),

Just read the BBC article, unbelievable, but unsurprising too!

No mention of the save before the goal either, which was pretty stunning as others have mentioned!

Peter Gorman
43 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:01:10
Ignore the doubters, I am certain Pickford does.
Dermot Byrne
44 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:12:04
I bet most football fans, as opposed to football media leeches, saw the contribution Pickford made.

But in many ways that doesn't bother me too much either.

As long as his own (ie, us lot at Everton) can see his value. From what I read on here, most of us do.

I would prefer us to constantly be overlooked but win rather than become the darlings of the pundits. I want them to constantly write us off and then look stupid when we win something. Seeing so many are RS lovers, that would make it even sweeter.

Will Mabon
45 Posted 07/07/2018 at 17:47:41
Well, the BBC had no choice today but to acknowledge Pickford. They even reviewed his saves after the match.

Personally I don't care what they think; I would rather go under their biased radar. Everyone who watched, knows.

John Wignall
46 Posted 08/07/2018 at 09:45:35
Extend his contract – he's only goner get better! Well done, Jordan.
Rick Tarleton
47 Posted 08/07/2018 at 19:29:24
Wasn't it the last World Cup where Tim Howard was deemed the greatest keeper? Anyone agree with that opinion?
Steve Ferns
48 Posted 08/07/2018 at 19:43:58
Rick, he went into the World Cup out of form. He rolled back the years and produced his very best. What did the Americans call him? Something like "Minister of Defence". Anyway, if you delete that World Cup from his chronology, then you see he was on the slide for a good while; it was just that, for whatever reason, he was able to get back to what he was, for one final time.

Personally, I have no idea what went wrong. He is still playing now. Southall knackered his back. From the age of around 32, he trained less and less. It was around the time of the '95 FA Cup Final that he barely trained at all, as training took too much out of him and meant he was in too much pain for the game. Which is when he started to pile on the weight.

Anyway, Big Nev says that keepers should get better and better in their 30s as their experience tells, and they should be able to play past 40, unless injury means they are limited physically.

It's interesting to listen to Nev talk about training. He said some people felt the need to go out and go through the motions (he names Tim Flowers as one such person) and that the training is doing absolutely nothing for him. He said with others, it is better to sit in the pub and talk through things and they can get far more out of that!

Tim Howard was a very good keeper, around 4th or 5th best in the league, at his best, was very consistent, and overcame a disability to do so. He was also a supreme athlete, the first keeper I had ever seen who was built like that! I accepted him for the flaws he had, and loved the fact that he gave 100% to the cause and remains an Evertonian.

Eric Paul
49 Posted 08/07/2018 at 19:59:50

During Spain's last group game, the commentator mentioned that De Gea hadn't made a single save in the tournament — every shot on target had gone in. If he was English, he would be long gone by now. I recognise he is very good but world-class keepers make saves. I for one am very confident with Pickford between the sticks.

Michael Kenrick
50 Posted 09/07/2018 at 04:17:53
Here's another view of Pickford's fantasitic save off Uribe's shot:

It's cool as you can slow it down to ½ , or ¼ speed. It's definitely on target all the way from Uribe's boot until maybe the penalty spot, where it's curving away more and more. I think it would have probably hit the post, but WTF! An absolutely brilliant save for the little fella!!!

Who was that incredible Mexican goalie... 2006 or 2010? It's all a blur to me now.

Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 09/07/2018 at 05:37:37
Michael, you talking about Sanchez? The guy whose father died a couple of days before the tournament?

Great angle on the save.

Michael Kenrick
52 Posted 09/07/2018 at 05:51:39
No, I think this guy was a real character... must have been earlier

Ah, here we are: Jorge Campos was an eccentric player, known for his constant play outside the penalty area – often functioning as a sweeper-keeper – as well as his acrobatic, risky, and flamboyant style of goalkeeping, and his colourful playing attire.

1994 and 1998... I was way off!

James Hughes
53 Posted 09/07/2018 at 07:01:45
The BBC have changed their tune :)


Steve Brown
54 Posted 09/07/2018 at 08:41:44
Wee Jason Pickford has done us proud. Shows us that being 6ft tall shouldn't stop anyone participating in sport.

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