by   |   20/09/2018  57 Comments  [Jump to last]

There have been quite a few articles and comments which have been questionning Pickford's ability in recent weeks, which is surprising as he came home from the World Cup as a bit of a golden boy.

To be honest, Pickford seems the least of our problems when you consider the central defence, the midfield spine of Gueye & Schneiderlin, the very disappointing Sigurdsson and the lacklustre displays of our strikers.

Anyhow, by modern standards, Pickford is a very small keeper; the days of international keepers like Alan Hodgkinson at 5'-8" are long gone and I know that he is around the same height as the greatest of England keepers, Gordon Banks. Nowadays the best keepers are around 6'-6" tall: Cech, Courtois, etc. Yet Pickford looked as good as anyone in the World Cup.

He is an excellent shot-stopper, as was Tim Howard who also had an excellent World Cup in 2014. In International football, keepers are better protected at corners and with VAR this protection was extended. The hustle and bustle of a Premier League penalty area from dead-ball positions is a different matter.

I've been watching Everton for over 60 years. If I could rank our keepers over that time, Southall is obviously our best keeper, possibly one of the greatest six British keepers ever; then for me Gordon West would be number two. His distribution was regarded as revolutionary at the time. Because, despite having a prodigious long kick, he more often threw the ball to Morrissey or Temple on the halfway line with a bowling action. He was the first keeper I saw who did this regularly.

Nigel Martyn would be the third best Everton keeper for me. Even though we only had him at the end of his career. Pickford would be vying for fourth best with George Wood and Jimmy O'Neill.

In other words, he's a better-than-average keeper, but nothing special. My 9-year-old grandson, a young keeper whom Leicester City are watching regularly, adores Jordan, but as I say, to me he's reasonable but not one of our best keepers.

Am I being unfair on the lad? Is he better than I think?

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Reader Comments (57)

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Stan Schofield
1 Posted 20/09/2018 at 14:52:25
Pickford is a very good keeper, and we'd be very lucky to find a better one.

When the team is playing shite (and let's face it there's been a lot of that over the last few years), individual players seem to come in for criticism that seems too often extreme. When the team gels well and we get a decent result, the player is real class, but then he's suddenly not so good as soon as we get a bad result.

This flip-flopping from supporters, particularly on ToffeeWeb, just seems a reflection of the frustration we feel about Everton generally. We're 'comfortably midtable', something for which supporters of a lot of teams would gladly take, but we're desperate (probably because of our history) to be elite again.

Unlike supporters of most clubs, we EXPECT Everton, almost as a law of nature, to be elite, and I think that produces undue criticism of players as soon as their performance isn't tip-top or if they hit bad form as individuals.

I think we should just appreciate the goalie we have. I imagine top sides would readily sign him if they could.

Brian Murray
2 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:18:49
Pickford is better than most at what modern goalies do: shot-stopping with good reflexes. As for commanding the area, that's almost a total alien prospect for most of the top keepers.

Having said that, our new young keeper Virginia excels at it and is not only a great prospect, he is, or should be, ready if Pickford gets too comfy (re Howard).

Ray Robinson
3 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:27:38
For me, Pickford really is short by a few inches to be a truly top class keeper but he's as good as we're going to get right now. A goalie his size, needs excellent spring to counteract lack of height (eg Reina, Cudiccini). Not sure Jordan's got that.

I agree with the Southall, West, Martyn order but I'd have Howard fourth before George Wood. I only go back to Dunlop. Who was Jimmy O'Neill?

Sam Hoare
4 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:35:25
I think Pickford is a pretty good keeper but I also think he is a bit overrated.

I don't think he is in the same class as Courtois, De Gea and Lloris. Maybe he will be but not yet.

I am one of those who prefers my keepers slightly taller and I do think his distribution is considerably weaker than he believes it to be. He's certainly not had a good start to the season but i'm hoping that will change sooner rather than later. He's still probably one of our very few players who might start for some of the teams in the top 6, time will tell how he compares to the likes of Allison, Ederson and Kepa.

Rick Tarleton
5 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:41:07
Hi, Ray, Jimmy O'Neill is, after Southall and Howard, our third most-capped keeper (Ireland). He was in the promotion team of 1953-54 and played till the late fifties for Everton before going to Stoke. He battled Dunlop for the place for a while but, by 1957, Albert Dunlop was the regular keeper.
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:42:27
He's only played for us for a season, so I would definitely reserve my judgement on Pickford, who is also very young for a keeper playing top-level football.

Let the kid keep playing, let the kid keep learning, let the kid keep improving, and maybe in a few years time, we will hopefully be talking about a great keeper, second only to greatest player (in his position) that I've ever seen play for Everton, even?

Ray Robinson
7 Posted 20/09/2018 at 15:58:16
Thanks Rick. Saw my first game in 1961, Never knew who actually preceded Albert Dunlop. Those were the days of 5'-8" goalies!! Ron Springett was probably the best around then and I guess he was barely 6'-0".
John Pierce
8 Posted 20/09/2018 at 16:02:16
This subject is a recurring theme. It’s his agility and mobility that make Pickford a very good modern keeper.

Taller keepers have height sure but are not as nimble. That isn’t an issue.

If there is an issue, perhaps it’s temperament, I like my goalkeeper to be calm, assured.

Pickford is still too rash, too eager to affect the game, without thinking about the game situation. Defenders are skittish with a keeper who is not or at least seems calm.

I believe that will come with age and time in goal.

Ray Robinson
9 Posted 20/09/2018 at 16:08:19
John, some taller keepers are both taller and nimble though (De Gea). They're not all like Fraser Forster, for example, who can cover the top corners but who goes down in instalments and can't adjust his feet quickly. Despite his agility, I don't think Pickford has the necessary spring to cover his lack of height. That's why I wouldn't put him in the A League of keepers.

Having said that, I'm not sure who is around, available and affordable who would be any better and, as the original poster states, it's hardly our top priority anyway.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 20/09/2018 at 17:22:57
I think he is a very good keeper who is very young still. His decision making will get better over the next few years. Height is a problem in my view, both with dealing with corners and set pieces and with lateral reach.

He is not in the same league as De Gea, or Courtois but, at his age, he can get there.

Stephen Davies
11 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:16:24
Ray...isn't Pickford the same height as Southall?
Dan Kemp
12 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:27:53
Ray #9 - Pickford lacks the necessary spring, eh?


Ray Robinson
13 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:32:24
Maybe, Stephen but Southall had more physical presence at set pieces and gave the impression of having a bigger "span".

Maybe it's just me but Pickford gives me the slight impression of struggling to "take off" sometimes. I realise this is just an impression on my part that many will disagree with. I just tend to pay attention to goalies because I was one (a short-arsed one!).

Joe McMahon
14 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:35:48
Stephen, I think the height argument has to take into consideration that 30 odd years ago Neville Southall would have been the tallest player in the team. These days, many defenders are at least 6'-3".
Ray Robinson
15 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:36:45
Dan, yes that certainly makes me look stupid! I can remember other examples however (Man Utd at home last seaon, Wolves away this season) when I think better spring / footwork might have saved a goal.
Rick Tarleton
16 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:40:09
The problem, Stephen Davies, is that goalkeeepers now are huge. Jennings, Shilton, Clemence who were Southall's contemporaries more or less, were within an inch or so of his height. In my youth, England picked goalies way below 6'-0": Hodgkinson, Hopkinson et alia. West was a bit of a giant being 6'-1" and quite well built.

I genuinely think Pickford is an adequate keeper; I think he's the least of our problems, given our central defence and midfield, but I don't see him as my grandson does as a great keeper. I think this may be generational, us old buggers have seen the evolution of the giant keeper and I do worry that in the modern game this may be a problem for Pickford when a 6'-5" centre-half is blocking him on corners.

As I said in the original article, I'm wondering how Everton fans see him relatively amongst our keepers.

Steve Ferns
17 Posted 20/09/2018 at 18:51:39
How many times must we have this argument? Do you all disagree with Neville Southall? Purely on the matter of height, Jordan Pickford is NOT too small, and so says Big Nev, time and time again. Want to ask him again? He will usually respond on Twitter.

Maybe JP is not good enough, maybe he is out of form, but he’s certainky not too small.

Ray Robinson
18 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:01:03
Steve, just because he was the greatest goalie I've ever seen, doesn't mean his opinion has always to be correct, although he is certainly more qualified than me to have one!

As we've discussed before, Pickford can make up for lack of height with spring and footwork as other smaller keepers do – but I'm not yet totally convinced – great goalie that he undoubtedly is.

Raymond Fox
19 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:05:06
He's not covered himself in glory in recent games – far from it, he's a long long way to go before he's compared with DeGea.

I would guess his England place is somewhat in danger although Southgate will probably stick with him for now; it would be harsh if he was dropped after a few mistakes.

As usual, players are lauded too soon and then criticised too soon.

Steve Ferns
20 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:09:46
Ray, what about the deficiencies that many of the big keepers have? Many mask their height by coming out with their hands on the floor, as they know they can't get down quick enough, this rendering their height irrelevant.

Southall is most qualified to give an opinion. David Preece and Shay Given give the same opinion. I've only ever seen Courtois criticise Pickford's height. So, it seems the experts all agree he's not too small. Same with all the “wrong hand” nonsense that Gary Neville started in the World Cup.

Tom Dexter
21 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:12:45
Judging goalkeepers over the years becomes slightly murky with the evolution of the game

Changing offside rules have introduced much more uncertainty in the back lines and goslkeeper positions, while the ‘flighty-bendy-swervy' balls used now are much more unpredictable that the old leathers used well into the '90s.

My view is the Pickford is a very solid keeper with very good distribution that will get better as the back 4/5 improves. Height is not an issue – although in future I would like him to start corners on Mina's shoulders...

Ray Robinson
22 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:26:48
Steve, I'm well aware of the deficiencies of some bigger goalies - Fraser Forster epitomising the problems of being too tall. It's swings and roundabouts but I'd still maintain that 6'3" to 6'4" is the optimum height for a modern day goalie unless he happens to have exceptional agility, presence and spring. Sorry Nev, I hope you prove me wrong!
Stephen Brown
23 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:29:40
A decent keeper but probably not as good as he appears to think he is after the World Cup!
Brian Harrison
24 Posted 20/09/2018 at 19:57:31

Like you, I remember Jimmy O'Neill in goal not a bad keeper, then he and Albert Dunlop seem to share the job at one time. Gordon West another very good keeper.

I remember back in the day when teams got to the FA Cup Final and the BBC every year had a player talk through the different qualities of each player in his team. But, for some reason, Catterick did ours our year and he said that Gordon was a very good goalkeeper but, if he had a weakness, it was dealing with crosses.

Just what you want as a player for your manager to point out your weakness; so, come the following season, every club we played seem to deliver more crosses than normal.

Niall McIlhone
25 Posted 20/09/2018 at 20:28:35
I guess it's all but forgotten now, but does anyone recall the magnificent save Pickford pulled off against Colombia in the World Cup? He managed to tip a rasping long shot round the top left hand post, which Yerri Mina scored from, so the brilliance of the save was overshadowed. Personally, I am glad we have him, he is young, and he has a bit of an edge to him, he can only get better.

In the canon of Everton keepers, we've had Big Nev, the best of the modern game post-1980, one of the best in Nigel Martyn, and a very good Tim Howard, until his confidence ebbed towards the end.

And an honourable mention though for Dai Davies, as someone once commented at Coventry away "He's a handsome bugger when he's got his teeth in"!

Phillip Warrington
26 Posted 20/09/2018 at 20:43:36
Pickford: great shop stopper but average at crosses and below average with his distribution.
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 20/09/2018 at 21:20:17
Brian (24), I think Harry Leyland played quite a few games with Jimmy O'Neill during the fifties, he eventually went to Blackburn Rovers and I think he played in the 1960 FA Cup Final for them along with Matt Woods, a former Everton centre-half, they might have left Everton together to join Blackburn.

From just after the war when I first started watching the Blues we didn't use many goalkeepers upto 1960. l can only recall Sagar, O'Neill, Leyland, Dunlop, with fleeting appearances by George Burnett, Albert Harris and another keeper called Jones. I saw him in a pre season trial game but don't know if he played in a league game.

Tommy Carter
28 Posted 20/09/2018 at 21:23:39
Pickford is superb and the very least of our worries.

I don't believe teams who perform like we currently do need a top class goalkeeper. Because when you defend like we do, no keeper will ever be good enough to keep everything out.

At the very top level where the best teams give away very few chances, this is where your man between the posts makes the difference and every great side has a great goalkeeper.

Our job is to build a team in which Pickford can shine. Where his shot stopping will get us the 3 points whilst his excellent distribution enhances the pattern of our play.

John Pierce
29 Posted 20/09/2018 at 21:37:57
I think the are some very good keepers around. The best happen to be relatively taller. De Gea the best example, I suspect he'd be as good if he was Pickford's size. He stands out because of his decision making, calmness, timing and reactions.

I never look at De Gea and think he's that good because he's 6'-4". Many players that height never ‘jump' their height either. Smaller players are often much better because they've had to work at it.

The standards that should be related to a modern goalkeeper. The physical attributes matter much less, in the same way the modern footballer relies less on being a big ‘grock'. Ineista etc.

Pickford has to improve his game awareness, decision making and temperament. All mental attributes, that come with experience.

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 20/09/2018 at 21:40:20
Tony #6, John #8, Tony #10, top comments. We're talking about a 24-year-old keeper with only 42 top-level league games, playing a position where experience is everything and the best in the world peak near age 30.

Rick, regarding this line: "Nowadays, the best keepers are around 6'-6" tall: Cech, Courtois, etc." Not necessarily so. Pickford is the same height as Navas, Casillas and Schmeichel, and only an inch shorter than Ter Stegen, Ederson and Jan Oblak – all of whom are better keepers than Cech and Courtois in my opinion. (And all of whom have had brain farts like Picks did last Sunday.) And Claudio Bravo was briefly one of the top three keepers in the world a couple of years ago at only 6'-0".

Personally, I think Picks can be almost that good in time. He has exceptional physical talent and explosiveness, or "spring" as Ray puts it, but his footwork still needs refining to maximize those talents.

Stephen (#23), posts like that just make my eyes roll – the ones that claim to know how a player thinks just by looking at him. Silly.

Laurie Hartley
31 Posted 20/09/2018 at 22:51:01
Dan Kemp (#12) – I'll cover that spring and raise you one.


Now that save is etched in my memory. I reckon I can still hear the sound of it as he slapped it over the bar. The greatest save I ever saw.

Don Alexander
32 Posted 20/09/2018 at 23:11:45
Laurie, thanks for the link. When the other posters rightly cited Nev, Westy, Nigel and the rest as our greatest ever keepers, I too recalled Andy Rankin as one of my favourites. The fact that he was competing with Westy says it all but he rarely, very rarely, let us down.

And on Pickford, enjoy him while we can, folks. He's one player who'll stroll into a top-six side unless we become one within the length of his current contract.

Graeme Beresford
34 Posted 20/09/2018 at 06:17:12
I think we overlook Jordan's faults with his goalkeeping as he tents to save a few shots during a game which makes us think "Well at least he saved the others."

My issue with Jordan is that he's usually the one shouting and screaming at players but there has been a number of overlooked mistakes or errors which has lead to us losing games or taking no points.

Lyon at home last year, totally overlooked because of the fight involving Williams and a fan. Nobody mentions Pickford got beat at his near post.

I think even against West Ham, any quality keeper saves the 3rd goal. Stick your foot out and he saves that. Sometimes his decision making when it comes to actually saving shots is awful. Someone mentioned Big Nev and Nigel Martyn, both of them would of stuck a leg out and saved West Ham's 3rd goal.

I like the guy but he needs to improve and start keeping some clean sheets if we as a team are going to start winning some points.

Andrew Ellams
35 Posted 21/09/2018 at 10:19:30
Nial McIlhone, that save vs Colombia was one of the outstanding pieces of individual brilliance by any player at the World Cup. But there are a few England players who will probably come back down to earth with a bit of a bump this season, Maguire being another one.
Brian Harrison
36 Posted 21/09/2018 at 10:45:31
Dave @27,

Fancy me forgetting Albert Harris, he has been a member of the same golf club as me for many years, I have spent many hours in his company.

Also Harry Leyland did go to Blackburn, I used to see Harry on a regular basis as he had a stall on Birkenhead market. I never saw Ted Sagar but my Dad reckons he was terrific.

Mike Allison
37 Posted 21/09/2018 at 10:57:05
Pickford is good but, like all good young English players, he's now been over-hyped a little. That's not his fault. There's also the very human thing of going back to the bread and butter of weekly club football just a few weeks after the World Cup, so he's not on top form either.

There are things he needs to improve at, but I have no doubt that he knows that and is already working on it. He's already clearly improved at coming off his line, which cost us two goals and the match away at Burnley last season. I'm confident he will become more commanding of his area as his own confidence and reputation grow.

Jim Bennings
38 Posted 21/09/2018 at 11:18:54
Pickford is a steady keeper with maybe the position he plays in, his best years ahead of him.

He's a improvement on Howard who watching many highlights reels between 2006-2015 made far too many madcap errors and erratic behaviour; my other gripes with Howard were he seemed to pull out of a dive if he was potentially clattering a post. In a decade I don't think I saw him with a cut head, lack of bravery and also the amount of times he ended up behind the goaline before the actual ball had crossed it, which tells me poor positional awareness.

For me, the attributes that make a top keeper hasn't nothing to do with height. Is he vocal, commanding, commands full respect from his defence, is he confident coming for crosses, is his handling good and most important is he fearless and brave?

Big Nev and Nigel Martyn were all of these things, Pickford at the moment is some but not yet all, maybe in time he can work on things.

Bravery for me is far more crucial for a goalkeeper than being a good shot stopper though — any fella out of the street can stop 9 out of 10 shots that are hit right at him.

Russell Smith
39 Posted 21/09/2018 at 12:58:50
I think the majority of posters agree that Pickford could be a great goalkeeper but at the moment he has not reached "greatness".

The press and pundits all say he has excellent distribution. This is a myth. His distribution is often poor, and whilst a quick long kick to our only advanced player may look like an inspired piece of vision, 9 times out of 10 it just gifts the ball back to the opposition with 10 of our players still in our own half and immediately we are back under the cosh.

I also tend to agree with some posters that, whilst he makes some brilliant saves he doesn't make too many one on one saves, or saves from shots from 12 yards or less. Southall, Martyn, Westy and even Andy Rankin all regularly made saves from these type of situations.

Pickford has never had a game where we have kept a clean sheet predominantly because he has made a string of world-class saves. Southall did this even though he was (generally) playing in front of an infinitely superior back four and covering midfielders. Martyn did it when we had back-fours and midfields similar to today.

Even last season I thought he had some glaring deficiencies in his game, he parried too many shots back into the danger areas, when he should have been holding on to the ball, and he was, and still is, not the best at dealing with crosses.

His time will come but he is not there yet.

Danny Broderick
40 Posted 21/09/2018 at 14:05:27
Absolute nonsense about Pickford's height. He just needs to work on stopping things bouncing back out in front of him when he makes a save. He has conceded far too many goals in the last couple of seasons.

He needs to just focus on improving his game and reducing the amount of goals he concedes. There's no doubt he has potential, but he has a few things to improve on yet.

Paul Johnson
41 Posted 21/09/2018 at 16:01:42
The kid was voted our player and young player of the year 6 months ago. Had an excellent World Cup (the Colombia save was truly world class).

Let's get the back four settled and get behind the kid. I believe he can go on and fill big Nev's boots. He certainly has Nev's passion.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 21/09/2018 at 16:16:25
Jim #38, say what??? The test of a keeper's bravery is whether you ever saw him with a cut head from diving into his own goalpost?

Bollocks. Howard was plenty brave, particularly diving at feet to get the ball (and with remarkably few pens in the process). I also note that your list of "attributes that make a top keeper" somehow doesn't mention the ability to stop shots, to make the blinding save that preserves the win. At his peak Howard was one of the finest shot-stoppers in the world. He made big saves at big moments, like the pen shootouts with ManUtd and Chelsea, and never had a true leak-thru-his-hands howler (a la Green, Cech, Hart, even De Gea).

Certainly he had his weaknesses, but overall he was every bit the equal of Martyn in my opinion.

Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 21/09/2018 at 16:56:10
Also, Jim, regarding "madcap errors"... the Premier League keeps a statistic called "Errors Leading to Goal". For his career, Howard is listed as having made 17 of those in 399 appearances, or one every 23 games.

I looked up other prominent keepers with more than 200 appearances. Cech has one such blunder every 18 games, Joe Hart one every 16. Mignolet, Lloris and Fabianski are all at one error every 14 games.

I always considered Howard one of the most reliable, least error-prone keepers in the Premier League, and the statistics bear me out.

(By the way, the worst number I found was 24 errors in 233 appearances, or one every 9.7 games. Guess who? Bungles Begovic, the Human Howler Machine, whom some here were promoting as our next keeper before we landed Pickford.)

Tony Heron
44 Posted 21/09/2018 at 18:45:08
So glad Andy Rankin has been given a mention. Certainly one of my favourites and for me the most agile keeper I've seen alongside Peter Bonetti from Chelsea. I go back to the time of Albert Dunlop and wouldn't argue at all with the list of our all time greats. My first game was in 1960, v Arsenal at Goodison who had the Welsh International Jack Kelsey between the sticks. He used to say that if a keeper had to dive, he wasn't keeping up with the game! An exageration I know, but as a former keeper myself I got what he was saying that you had to read the game and your most important weapon was anticipation. I think Pickford, who I really rate and was delighted when we signed him, is sometimes guilty of not reading a situation correctly. Take Yarmolenko's 2nd on Sunday. Digne and Zouma (wrongly) forced him inside and onto his favoured left foot, I think everyone knew he would look to bend it in to Pickfords right, Digne and Zouma were blocking the route to the left of goal, but JP chose to position himself in the middle of the goal rather than the space left available for Yarmolenko's shot. It came as no surprise to me that he failed to reach the ball. I do believe though that he's young enough to learn and will become a great if he does.
Pat Kelly
45 Posted 21/09/2018 at 19:26:15
If he's good enough he's tall enough. Height is only one factor. So far he's good enough.
Bill Watson
46 Posted 21/09/2018 at 21:38:21
Pickford is a first class goalkeeper who is still learning.

In the overall Everton rankings I'd place Andy Rankin above O'Neill, Dunlop and Howard.

Paul Birmingham
47 Posted 24/09/2018 at 19:04:02
When the chips are down as, they have been so far this season, it's easy to line up scapegoats, for dismal results.

Some of the players as has been well debated on other TW threads do deserve the honest feedback, on their performances, both good and bad. The healthy debate on TW, is what makes it such a good read.

Picjkford is still learning his trade, but I do believe he will make a fine goalkeeper in time.

I recall the first time I'd seen him play I think it was after we'd drew 3-3, at Chelsea, 3 years ago, in Jan 2015.

Sunderland got whacked 4-0, at Spurs but seeing the highlights, he must have saved 5 goals and I was impressed, and I said to my son and brother, one for the future.

Long way to go, and remember Dino Zoff, he was just under 6ft and won trophies galore at club and a few major trophies for Italy, 1982 World Cup and 1968 European Championship, how good he was and for me if Neville Southall states he's good enough, that's good enough for me.

Of course Dino Zoff had legendary players in front of him, in what was a golden age for Italian football.

In fairness, Pickford doesn't have that in this Everton team, but the potential is there.

Get Mina in and Gomes, and let's see where this season goes.

Danny Baily
48 Posted 24/09/2018 at 19:31:21
Would be great to see some technical analysis of his performances from goalkeeping experts (not just whoever happens to be on the MotD couch).

I'm certainly never comfortable with him in goal. I didn't even think about Joel Robles in that position when he had that good run under Koeman.

Steve Ferns
49 Posted 24/09/2018 at 19:43:40
Danny, former Premier League goalie, turned journalist, David Preece on the subject of goal keeper analysis by (non-goalkeeper ex-pros): Video

David Preece gives an excellent analysis on Jordan Pickford. But you have to take what he says with a pinch of salt, remembering that Preece is also from Sunderland, and played with and perhaps even coached young Jordan, and so is a bit too close to give an impartial opinion. He raves about Pickfird for what it's worth:

Written Article after the England v Belgium game in the World Cup

Mike Gaynes
50 Posted 24/09/2018 at 20:02:57
Steve, David Preece never played in the Premier League. He never played with or coached Pickford. But I love his article – thanks for posting that link.

Interesting how much that Januzaj goal resembles Yarmolenko's strike last week.

Steve Ferns
51 Posted 24/09/2018 at 20:12:16
Mike, he's always introduced on shows as "former Premier League Goalie" David Preece. You are right though, he never actually played in the Premier League. He did sit on the bench for Sunderland though.

The link to Pickford must just be they know each other from being goal keepers from Sunderland, albeit 15 years between them. I was sure Preece had said something about being in the same side as Pickford. It was definitely spoken rather than written, and I can't find anything to back that up. So I will assume you're right and they never played together and Preece never coached him.

Mike Gaynes
52 Posted 24/09/2018 at 20:25:45
That's pretty funny, Steve... I wonder if he's the one who inflated his CV a bit?

Anyway, he left Sunderland in '97 when Pickford was two years old, so they certainly never played together, but who knows, they might well have connected through the club at some point and done some informal coaching.

Steve Ferns
53 Posted 24/09/2018 at 20:32:48
Pickford spent a lot of time out on loan, Mike, I presumed that the playing together / coaching happened there, or that Preece had been back at Sunderland the year before last trying to make a go of his coaching career. Perhaps like Everton do, they let ex-pros have access to the players to try to get their coaching badges. That seems less likely, as Sunderland aren't likely to have viewed Preece as fondly as Everton do Jeffers or Ebrell and the rest.

Also Mike, I think Preece is trying to carve out a niche for himself as a goalkeeper expert and so criticises the punditry of the ex-pros to his own gain. That said, I do think he has an excellent point. I loved the bit he did about the "wrong hand" when he said hold your hands above your head, tilt the to the right, now tell me which one you think you'd have more power with, and tell me that's the top hand. I had never thought of it that way, and I bet Gary Neville too.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 24/09/2018 at 20:55:06
Steve, I think "goalkeeper pundit" is a pretty kick-ass job title myself. I like his business plan. Hey, he's already broadcasting at a higher level than he ever played.

Interesting that I see Hislop so often on ESPN here in the States, but he doesn't "pundit" on keepers but rather on the whole game.

Regarding any intersections with Jordan, I presume you cross-checked their resumes as I did and found none, but Pickford was on Sunderland's books for a long time and they could have met in summer training or something while Preece was home visiting Ma and Pa. I would guess that's the genesis of Preece's "same club" comment.

Steve Ferns
55 Posted 24/09/2018 at 21:27:08
Mike, I was lazy and did not. I thought I heard Preece say something about being in the same side or coaching him. I mainly made that reference to show their is a relationship between them.

Having looked into it, I think the relationship is simply that Preece cut his journalistic teeth at the local Sunderland paper (their version of the Echo) and so spent a lot of time talking to Pickford. No doubt his credentials as a former player got him better access, as well as his very favourable writeups.

Preece has progressed since then, to freelancing and writing for the broadsheets and getting on the radio and onto podcasts. He pundits on the whole of the game, not just keepers. But, if there is a keeper talking point, he seems to have established himself as the go to guy, particularly on Pickford in particular and especially when discussing his performances for England.

It's worth noting that after the Belgium game, it seemed the broadsheets went from getting someone in to defend Pickford (Preece) than someone to stick the boot in, which is what the English press has always done in the past.

Steve Mink
56 Posted 26/09/2018 at 14:22:24
Based on Everton goalies I've seen

1. Southall (by a country mile)
2. Martyn
3. Pickford/George Wood

Saw Gordon West but was too young to judge. Would love to see an analysis of how many points Southall gave us during that Championship season. Can recall several games were we were battered and got away with wins and draws solely because of him.

Steve Ferns
58 Posted 24/10/2018 at 14:48:59
Rick, OP, have you revised your opinion on Pickford?
David Ellis
59 Posted 08/11/2018 at 09:48:32
I've been watching Everton since 1972 and too young to judge Gordon West. So, of the 'keepers I've seen, it would be Southall, Martyn, Pickford, Howard, Wood, Richard Wright (for a while) and the rest were pretty ordinary. Lawson and Dai Davies shared the job for a while but neither convinced.

I think Pickford will overtake Martyn in these rankings over time. The height argument is a total red herring. You don't need to be tall to beat a big striker/defender in the air because you can use your hands. And as for reach – it's also about agility and speed which tends to be inversely proportionate to height.

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