Jordan Pickford: The Diamond Getting Rougher

Matthew Parry 28/09/2020 91comments  |  Jump to last

As each game passes, it seems the debate over whether Jordan Pickford is good enough to play between the sticks for Everton only gathers momentum. With the club aiming high and the fans’ expectations of the team only increasing, we need a top-class goalkeeper that we can rely on when things go a bit pear-shaped. Since Pickford’s arrival from Sunderland in 2017, he has not been able to offer that consistently. What, then, has gone wrong for what was once an exciting young prospect?

Playing between the sticks is arguably the most difficult position to play in football. Any youngster who experiences it in a competitive game will acknowledge the level of responsibility that a goalkeeper takes on and the amount of pressure you’re under to perform at your best. It’s quite often a thankless task, too, with goalkeepers rarely getting as much praise for good performances as they do criticism for bad ones.

It is a position where fine margins can be exploited, where one lapse of concentration or a slight misjudgement can cost a goal and potentially cost your team points. As a professional footballer earning tens-of-thousands every week, though, these mistakes should be few and far between and they should be able to handle the expectations. The truth is, Jordan Pickford currently lacks in every one of the areas that prevent goalkeepers from making errors.

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Goalkeepers also need to have a considerable physical presence, either in height or strength, to unsettle attackers and make them appear a tougher opponent to beat. Standing at just over 6-ft tall, he’s not exactly short but he is without a shadow of a doubt on the short side for a goalkeeper. Some exceptional keepers can outweigh their shorter height with greater agility, but I’m not convinced Pickford falls into this category. He’s shown glimpses of his excellent shot-stopping ability but, with the exception of his first season at Goodison Park, he hasn’t shown it enough.

The biggest problem with Pickford, though, is his mental game. Whether it is getting abuse from opposition crowds, lack of effort, struggling to eliminate previous mistakes from his mind, hesitation or trying to make saves look good, something happens in his head that diverts his concentration away from making the save. Look back through Pickford’s catalogue of errors over the years and you’ll find that a lot of these are lapses in judgement and concentration, rather than a lack of ability. These are saves that, if he was in the right headspace, he would make without batting an eyelid.

What we have, then, is a goalkeeper lacking confidence that we need to support, right? Well, No. Pickford’s Everton career started to go downhill when he played at the 2018 World Cup. He was one of England’s best performers in that competition, but after that, we started noticing some changes, particularly in his demeanour and attitude on and off the field. However, he’s been noticeably more reliable for England and seems to make all his mistakes out of his system at Everton, as though he cares more about his international career than his club. I’m sorry, but that should be the other way round.

Sure, he’d made a couple of mistakes for us before the World Cup, but you could count these on one hand and there was never a concerning pattern, plus he undoubtedly saved us more points than he cost us. Altercations with opposition fans, chuckling to the camera after making an error, fights outside nightclubs and silly statements in the media have made the headlines after he did so for all the right reasons in Russia. He seems to have gotten a taste for the limelight and has acquired an arrogance and vanity, which will only add to the error-driven pressure he’s already under.

So, where do we go from here? Names have bounced around the newspapers as possible replacements or backups to push Pickford to recover his form. Likewise, ex-professionals and teammates have supported him in getting through the bad patch that stretches back a couple of years now. Pundits and fans have criticised him and deemed him ‘not good enough’, while others still say he’s England’s best goalkeeper. But who is right and who is wrong?

The truth is, no goalkeeper becomes bad overnight. With the exception of bad injuries or reactions slowing with age, goalkeepers with quality only become bad if their confidence or concentration suffers. There’s still a goalkeeper worthy of playing for Everton and England in there with Pickford, it’s just about bringing it back out of him.

The best thing for Pickford would be for Everton to buy an experienced goalkeeper, such as Sergio Romero of Manchester United, and give him a run of eight or ten games in the team with Pickford on the bench. Knock him down a few pegs, dent his pride, let him know that he has to work for his place. It should put an end to the cockiness that has cost himself and the team so much recently.

If this doesn’t work and never recovers from it, we’ve dodged a bullet by replacing him before his career collapses. Football is a cut-throat business and we can’t get too emotional and sensitive over players that don’t recover their form.

I find, though, that a lot of fans jump on the bandwagon and can’t wait to slam Pickford, even when criticism is extremely harsh. It makes my blood boil when pundits or fans pick on every minor detail of a so-called goalkeeping error and senselessly try to justify their opinion that they should do better, when there’s absolutely nothing to analyse.

A goalkeeper can’t save everything and people tend to defend players with a better reputation or form, just because it’s easier to blame someone that’s looked upon more negatively. Pickford undoubtedly has to do a lot of the work himself to alleviate the pressure on him, but we need to stop being so critical of him too.

If there’s any man that knows how to get the best out of his players, though, it’s Carlo Ancelotti. Given how he’s performed and acted of late, I can’t say I’d be sad if Pickford left the club. I do, however, continue to support him and believe there’s still an excellent goalkeeper in there somewhere. It’s up to the club, the fans, the coaches and primarily himself to drag that quality out of him.

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Barry Rathbone
1 Posted 28/09/2020 at 10:49:58
He just doesn't have the physical attributes. As a result, he doesn't command the penalty box from corners and free-kicks – a prerequisite of any top keeper.

He does alright on other stuff but not "owning" the 6-yard box is a monumental hole in his game and something he can do naff-all about.

Kevin Molloy
2 Posted 28/09/2020 at 11:19:43
When you think of all the points he's cost us this season, surely he needs to be replaced now, so we can bring in... you know... the other fella.
Stan Schofield
3 Posted 28/09/2020 at 12:34:48
Kevin, nice one.
Ray Roche
4 Posted 28/09/2020 at 12:47:34
Kevin. How many points has he cost us this season? 😁
Christine Foster
5 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:07:15
Any goal scored by the opposition at the moment is blamed on the keeper. Every single goal has been put at his door, irrespective if it was his fault, his mistake, or a brilliant effort by an opposing player.

In short, the media, a section of fans are putting him under ridiculous review for every action he takes. Every action. Everything he does. There is no denying his mistakes but it's getting stupid. It will destroy what little confidence he has left if it continues.

The decision is not ours to make; it's Ancelotti's as he sees it every day. It's his choice to make and, should he make that call, we need to support Pickford because he is the keeper of our team.

This constant media scrutiny is designed to make him fail. Some will say it's self-inflicted but we are shooting ourselves in both feet if we continue to criticise, abuse and ridicule. It's up to Carlo, his call, until then, we need him at his best and he needs our support.

Patrick McFarlane
6 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:25:35
Jordan will be here for the rest of this season, unless the club get an offer they can't refuse before next Monday – which is highly unlikely – or the club go out and buy a suitable replacement who is better than Jordan – which again is highly unlikely.

In that case, no matter how 'error-prone' he may be, he should get our support; the last thing we need to do is undermine him whilst he is our first-choice keeper.

I suspect that, even if Everton didn't concede a goal for months, Jordan would still be getting criticism from those who have already made up their minds that he isn't good enough for Everton. They may be right but, until the club buy a better replacement, it's his job to keep goal for Everton FC.


Derek Knox
7 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:29:03
Good article, Matthew, which has raised many valid and succinct points, in defence of Pickford, if there is one, he is human and therefore not infallible, but I'm afraid that is about as far as it goes.

Okay, no save is absolutely the same, but a lot are similar, and some shots – because of their ferocity, skilful delivery, height etc – would beat any goalkeeper in the World. That is accepted and, as the last line of defence, the spotlight inevitably falls on the guy between the sticks.

We know and appreciate (hopefully) that he (or whoever is in goal) is not going to save every shot, but I think what irks me and I would imagine all of his critics, is the lack of concentration at times, resulting in absolutely stupid schoolboy errors, conceding the softest of goals.

This is further exacerbated by the arrogant gestures, the tongue out, the shouting as if it was anybody's fault bar his own. They say only a fool makes the same mistake twice; he is intrinsically a decent goalkeeper, but nowhere near as good as he thinks he is himself.

Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:36:12
Matthew,

Man City took the approach you suggest with Hart by dropping him for a bit to take him down a peg or two. He never recovered.

His cockiness is part of his personality and often a strength. It's not like the marines breaking someone down and turning them into a warrior

Steve Hogan
9 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:37:06
'Knock him down a few pegs, dent his pride'... yeah, that will do the trick, I'm sure.

Jesus, if he ever needs counselling, I'll make sure he speaks to you first, Matthew.

Eddie Dunn
10 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:42:41
Because we have won five on the trot and Pickford was in goal for four of those games, this subject is of less importance and his apologists can console themselves that he is not costing us games.

Let's wait until a couple more months have gone by and we have found our level in the embryonic Premier League. If his lack of concentration or poor decision-making have cost us in important fixtures, then there may be more folk with pitchforks and pointy hats.

For me, he can be a weak link and, although I want him to do well for us, I worry at his antics and also have kittens whenever Mina joins the party too.

I do hope Pickford can keep a lid on the daft stuff, as he is good at catching and has a very powerful kick, he is also quick off his line and has great reflexes. His faults are lack of concentration, occasional positional errors, and a tendency to punch balls away that could be caught with ease. He also pumps too many balls straight into touch.

All goalies have weaknesses, even Shilton, Seaman and Big Nev. However, he's not shit, so let's just see how it goes.

Finally, Christine (and others), Carlo's judgement is the key, but he doesn't slag his players off in public and he knows there is little time to find a better goalie. Perhaps in the summer, we will have Pope in the sticks but, for this season, it will be Jordan.

John Zapa
11 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:48:12
Adding someone like Romero (£70k+ per week) and keeping Pickford on the bench is never going to happen, it's unaffordable.

He would need to be sold to make room for the new keeper, but it's unlikely that clubs would want to sign an error-prone low-confidence goalkeeper, so he isn't going anywhere this season.

Dan Nulty
12 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:50:34
I don't think that is what happened to Hart, Kieran. His problem was he was shit.

During his last 3 seasons before Pep got there, he had more errors than any other keeper in the Premier League that directly led to goals. Howard was second during that time.

Pickford has the same problem now, more errors leading to goals in the last 3 seasons than any other Premier League goalkeeper.

You can't build a side if your keeper is going to give away one goal in 25% of your games.

I hope he learns to concentrate for 90 minutes as he certainly has ability.

John McFarlane Snr
13 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:55:19
Hi Christine [5] and John, {aka Patrick} [6], wise words but it would appear that there is a section of fans who continuously rip players to bits. I don't think there is one player who has escaped harsh criticism.

There are some players that I favour over others, but to me they are Everton players and I will support them. I keep my misgivings to myself because, no matter how bad I may think they are, the fact that they earn their living playing football proves that they are better than I ever was.

Dave White
14 Posted 28/09/2020 at 13:58:37
Disclaimer: I am a goalkeeper and we definitely have a union!

I have been a staunch defender of Jordan Pickford but he's making it harder and harder for me to carry on doing that. I really appreciate the balance in your article, Matthew, and agree with most of it.

Carlo has shown he's quick to identify weak links in the team and take action to address them (eg, replacing our entire central midfield, thank god!). The fact that he hasn't taken action at goalkeeper may be due to financial restrictions, but I suspect it may also be down to Ancelotti giving himself a bit more time to see if he can ‘polish this diamond'.

I think Pickford has to step up this season and, at the very least, eradicate the decision-making related errors in his game. If, as we all hope, this side continues to perform at this level, Pickford's performances will increasingly become the deciding factor between tight wins and dropped points. The scrutiny is only going to get more intense as other areas of the team step up their games.

I agree that bringing in an experienced stopper is a sensible move. I'd be wary of throwing Virginia in at this stage as we run the risk of damaging a very young keeper who the club clearly see as a bright prospect.

I still have faith in Pickford and I believe that, if anyone can bring the best out of him, it's Carlo. But I also think this season is his last chance to show what he can do.

Confidence for a goalie is a delicate balance. You have to be able to believe in yourself even when you make mistakes and you have to accept that when you do make those mistakes you will have more focus on you than any other position on the pitch. But you also have to maintain a level of humility which allows you to accept when you aren't performing at a high level week on week, and to accept help to rectify that.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

15 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:15:57
Sorry Matthew, but I just don't ‘get' your article at all.

The bulk of your piece seeks to find negatives in everything about Jordan Pickford and present them as ‘truths'. They are not. You are presenting your slanted opinion on the lad. Not indisputable ‘truths'.

You state he is:

• not a top-class goalkeeper
• inconsistent
• incapable of ‘handling the expectations' of playing for a Premier League club and England
• lacks physical presence
• not as agile as believed
• mentally weak
• easily ‘got at' by opposition fans
• lacks effort, concentration and confidence
• dwells on mistakes
• is both hesitant as well as being a show pony
• that he is more reliable for the national team and more concerned with his England career than his club career
• a night club brawler (plural, when in truth there has only been one reported incident provoked by rival fans abusing his wife)
• likes the limelight and as a result is arrogant and vain

Strewth! Given all the above, how the hell has he managed to fool 6 Everton managers over 3+ seasons in making him an ever-present in all our Premier League fixtures and his international manager establishing him as England's #1?

Putting aside some evident contradictions in your list, having penned a complete hatchet job on the lad, you then ponder on how he can be ‘saved'.

Your solution? Bring in better competition for his position. Drop him with the intention of not building up his confidence, but to ‘knock him down a few pegs, dent his pride, put an end to his cockiness.'

Marvellous. Sports Psychology 101.

Perversely, given all the above, you then turn all saintly, stating:

‘A lot of fans jump on the bandwagon and can't wait to slam Pickford, even when criticism is extremely harsh. It makes my blood boil when pundits or fans pick on every minor detail of a so-called goalkeeping error and senselessly try to justify their opinion that they should do better, when there's absolutely nothing to analyse. We need to stop being so critical of him too.'

Do-wot? Is there some subtle parody, a deliberate irony in your article I am missing, Matthew? Maybe you should start with yourself when advising ‘we need to stop being so critical of him.'

As I said in my opening paragraph, I just don't ‘get' your piece at all, Matthew.

Ernie Baywood
16 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:16:56
I suspect a lot of this comes down to a natural aversion to someone with confidence bordering on arrogance. But he's a keeper – he's got to have a bit of that to deal with the pressure. If he didn't, he'd be gone by now.

The only real issue I see is coming for crosses, though he hasn't skipped a beat on that front this season – in fact he was brilliant on that front against Spurs.

I don't really care about the Fleetwood goal. We've recruited a keeper with excellent distribution and made it a key plank of our approach to staying in possession. If he sees a lot of the ball then he'll make mistakes the same as everyone else. The alternative is for our defence to belt the ball out for throw-ins in our half. Over the season I'm comfortable that this plan works out better.

He's a very good shot-stopper. I know there are stats that say the opposite, but I watch a lot of football, including every single match we play, and he's right up there.

Perfect, no. Best available, probably.

And the best argument that I can think of for him is that he's gained us more points this season than he's lost us. That's just a fact. So why the focus?

Kevin Prytherch
17 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:18:41
Personally, I believe that Pickford has been making mistakes from day 1. Even in his first season, he made countless mistakes, it was just that his saves and the fact that he rescued us on more than a few occasions papered over the cracks. They weren't as dramatic as his current mistakes, but he frequently came off his line too late or too early, spilt a ball where he shouldn't, flapped at a cross etc.

I'm prepared to give most players a chance, but I think Pickford has had too many chances.

I do agree with bringing in some competition. Surely it's no coincidence that he plays better for England, where there is plenty of competition, but poor for us, where there is no competition. Someone like Forster, Butland or Foster would be good as they would be genuine competition (and possibly even our Number One for a period of time) on a short-term deal for a year or two.

Pickford might even learn a thing or two about positioning – which keepers who have been around for as long as they have, undoubtedly pick up with age and experience.

Andy Crooks
18 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:33:40
An article of two halves. First part is pretty negative about Pickford and suggests he needs taken down a peg. Also there is quite bit about his character and attitude which is really conjecture.

The second part then rounds on those who criticize him for errors which are not conjecture. In fact, it makes your blood boil. I think his passing out of defence did spread panic because the confidence of the defence was shot. He does not have a calming influence and I feel he always has a howler in him but, as the side grows in confidence, I hope he will too.

I certainly noticed a change on Saturday when he put his boot through quite a few times. I think Carlo will act if it becomes essential.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:34:20
I've banged this drum for a while. All top level keepers make some fantastic saves and all will make some hideous errors.

For me, analysis in this type of situation in helped by comparative statistics, though I know many disagree.

When we bought Pickford, he had just had a great season at Sunderland, saving 74% of all the shots that he had faced. That was one of the highest in the Premier League that season, beaten only by the likes of Cech, Lloris and De Gea.

Since then, he has got worse. His save % in his first season with us was 69% and then 66%. And then last season it was 63%. Which was the lowest in the Premier League except for Kepa.

He's been getting worse. Not better. And, despite what some people say, he is currently nowhere near the best keepers in the Premier League (Ederson, Leno, Schmeichel, Allisson etc).

This season (in the Premier League) he's looked a bit better and his save % is up to 70%. If he keeps that up, then I'll be content. If he reverts to last season's form, then we really need to make a new goalkeeper a priority.

Simon Harrison
21 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:36:03
Kevin [2] Just how many points has he cost us this season?

You could argue in the Spurs game, he actually saved us 2 or 3 points depending on how the game went in the second half?

As for his involvement in games and goals conceded;

Spurs: 0. Pretty good all-round performance.

WBA: 2, #1 team error, and our defence were not at the races that game. #2 Midfield faffing around 20-25 yards outside our box, gives away a free-kick, and the wall doesn't do its job. Plus the free-kick was pretty much a worldly anyway.

Fleetwood: 2, #1 team error, and Pickford trying to follow coaches instructions, ie, pass it out. #2 7 yards out, after checking the replay, overhead kick, he'd have no idea where it was going, but as it went at him, you'd hope it would have been saved; but, see Dom's goal vs Palace, Guaita should have saved that, as he had his chest and both arms behind it... but these things happen.

Crystal Palace: 1, Keane and Richarlison should have done better, no way was Pickford going to get across as he was cleverly impeded by Palace players.

I haven't seen too much wrong, other than some distribution issues. If anything, he seems to have raised his game to me.

Is he the 'perfect' keeper, no; but, he is recognised by Big Nev, Southgate and most importantly, Carletto as being pretty damned good. Maybe if fans laid off slagging him down so much, and tried to build him up, he wouldn't make these previous season's errors(?), and it could allow his confidence to grow.

I also agree with Eddie [10] we can only judge after 10-12 games or so, or if he starts to excel, or if he implodes performance-wise.

Christine [5], Patrick [6] and John [13] make succinct and excellent points.

My last would be maybe it's time to bring in a different goalkeeping coach? That being the only other constant bar Pickford himself, is Allan Kelly? He was meant to be replaced by Stekelenburg this season before he got a better offer. Also, none of the keepers seem to have improved overly much with Kelly in post?

Would a new voice and a new set of eyes and ears help Jordan and the others?

NSNO, Project "Reclaim the City!"

Kevin Molloy
22 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:36:56
Dan, that 'more errors leading to goals' doesn't tell the whole story though. Pickford is also capable of outstanding saves, that keep us in matches.

We'd have lost that game at Spurs but for his outstanding save to Doherty, in my opinion. And how valuable will that first win be to the team come season end?

Kevin Molloy
23 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:40:18
Sorry, Simon, Ray... I was being sarcy, lowest form of wit and all that. I am always doing this in print, assuming people will get the tone... and of course they don't.
Simon Harrison
24 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:44:51
Sam [20] It's funny that his save percentage has fallen as the quality of our midfield has dropped, almost in corresponding values exactly.

Good comment by the way, and well said!

When people say, that the defence are nervous about Pickford, maybe they've been nervous about the fact that they know that the midfield weren't able to do their job effectively, which in turn compounds the problems Pickford has been facing.

It's not easy to be a keeper when your midfield is almost non-existent and your defence become more and more exposed, plus the number of injuries this last two seasons in the backline can't have helped either.

Jay-Brz [15] Well said, much better than I could have put it.

Simon Harrison
25 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:48:36
Hey Kevin, no need to apologise, as an ex schoolboy up to U18 keeper; the way people slag off Pickford just makes me 'tetchy' at times.

I still think a new goalkeeping coach could help him a lot though; ie, with positioning and box awareness/control.

Oh, and like you say, wit is sometimes lost online without being able to transmit via a keyboard... :D

Brian Williams
26 Posted 28/09/2020 at 14:53:09
Jay@15. You beat me to it and have posted a lot of points I was going to make.

A contradictory article if ever there was one.

Matthew Parry
27 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:06:13
Jay Wood (15)... where to start?

My article is aimed at analysing why people are criticising him. I gave some opinions in there, maybe you feel they're wrong and that's fine, we're all entitled to a different one. My point about Pickford is that he's shown he's a very good goalkeeper with a lot of potential, but I feel as though he sees Everton as a stepping stone and his work ethic and/or concentration has dropped since the World Cup. If he focused more on his game rather than his ego, it would alleviate a lot of the pressure on him and help him fulfil his potential.

None of that criticism is harsh, it is quite simply what I see as the truth. Bringing in Sergio Romero would be great for him, give him a hungry, experienced peer to observe and set an example of how to conduct yourself as a goalkeeper. They say good managers know who to put an arm around and who to be ruthless with; well, I feel putting an arm around Jordan would only massage his ego. You may disagree with that, but that's just the impression I get of him.

You also deeply analyse my examples of when he's been in the press for negative reasons and question why managers appear to have let him off with it. The actual content of the articles is irrelevant really; my point is that the football world just wants to see him fall from grace because of his cockiness. I'm an Everton fan so, of course, I don't want that. It's different if he backed up his character with brilliant performances, but these haven't been as common as we'd expect from a player of his potential.

From the handful of games he played well in under Ronald Koeman to the current reign of Ancelotti, excluding Big Dunc, is there any manager there that you'd be afraid of upsetting? Carlo is the first manager we've had in a long time that actually understands this football club and what the fans want, but also how to get the best out of a player. He's also the first manager that has shown any kind of frustration at Pickford's errors – that bemusement and shake of the head against Fleetwood said it all.

I don't believe Pickford is not good enough because he's shown he can be brilliant, but his performances suggest he's taken his eye off the ball quite significantly. I think Carlo sees that too, and I can't see the boss waiting around to see if he improves without eyeing competition for him.

If you still don't 'get' my article, then feel free to stop reading it and stay out of the comments section. Cheers.

David Ellis
28 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:13:39
He's an okay keeper, but he does have a problem with his decision making which creates unnecessary calamity. Viz trying to dink it to Mina at the beginning of the West Brom game, getting chased down in possession vs Fleetwood (first goal) and coming for a cross and failing to bet back in position vs Fleetwood (2nd goal).

All these moments unsettled the whole team for a 10-15 minute period. At least the first two of these were completely unnecessary risk-taking. It should be easy to correct but this weakness persists. It hasn't actually cost us yet this season but, in close games against the big sides, it would very likely do so.

Kieran Kinsella
29 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:20:36
Sam Hoare,

The stats can be deceptive. If you have a rubbish team in front of you, eg, Sunderland, you are going to face more shots. If the defence is wide open then a lot of shots are going to come reigning in that are speculative at best. Those are easier to save.

If you have a world class defence, eg, old Italy sides in the 50s, then very, very few shots will make it to the keeper. In fact, only the really top efforts which are exponentially harder to stop.

So, in terms of percentages, the goalie at a crap team is likely to have better stats than a goalie at a good team. For example, Marshall of Cardiff City was lauded as superman during their one miserable season in the top flight. As time has gone on, it's obvious he's a mediocre goalie but his stats were good as he was hung out to dry for shooting practice that season.

David Pearl
30 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:23:36
And stay out of the Walsworth.

Pickford can make a great save one minute and a howler the next, we all know that. He is of course needing to improve those natural instincts and perhaps that can improve with experience (not that he hasn't had enough time).

I can't believe that Lössl hasn't been given one single start since he joined us, can he be that bad?

We will find out what Pickford is all about over this season as expectations have risen... Fingers crossed he rises to the challenge and isn't a reason we miss out on anything.

Kieran Kinsella
31 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:24:15
Patrick 6,

I agree with your pragmatism. Realistically, he is here to stay this season, so piling on does no good. Morever, the team is improving. If it continues and if we get a "good" goalie, then attention will turn to the next weakest link: Gomes, Mina, whoever.

There is always going to be someone that we can find fault in. Personally, I am enjoying being able to reflect on wins and points. I have had enough misery supporting Everton without finding a way to find negatives in the good times.

Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:25:34
David,

"I can't believe that Lössl hasn't been given one single start since he joined us, can he be that bad?"

Isn't that what we said about Niasse?

Stan Schofield
33 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:29:59
It really is cringeworthy to suggest Pickford needs 'taking down a peg or two'. This is surely ill-informed armchair amateur psychology at its worst.

It reminded me of the Live Forum during the Fleetwood game, when someone called our keeper an arrogant twat.

Supporters? Yeh, whatever.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

34 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:35:31
Matthew, really, you shouldn't have ‘started' with your reply. All you've done is further reinforce and compound the original contradictory post of ‘two halves' that others besides myself also noted.

You didn't ‘analyse' why people are criticising him as you now claim. You simply repeated the criticisms. Many of them highly subjective and speculative based on your own ‘impressions' of the lad as you now describe them, not ‘truths' as you originally stated.

You add to that speculation by claiming ‘he sees Everton as a stepping stone and his work ethic and/or concentration has dropped since the World Cup' and that he should ‘focus more on his game rather than his ego' based on…well, no evidence at all.

And sorry to correct you further, but I didn't ‘deeply analyse' your examples of anything you penned. Just listed them concisely.

The only thing I can agree with you in your two posts is this in your second post:

‘The actual content of the article is irrelevant really.'

As for this beaut, ‘If you still don't 'get' my article, then feel free to stop reading it and stay out of the comments section.'

I'll decide for myself, ta very much, what posts I read, if I will respond to them, plus how I will respond to them.

If you are not willing to be challenged on your posts, rather than only praised, then maybe it's you that needs to refrain from commenting.

John Keating
35 Posted 28/09/2020 at 15:55:03
Hopefully, with a much more stable and far better midfield and defensive set up, Pickford will be called upon far less this season.

Talking of the midfield, if Gomes shaved that beard... do you not think him and Allan would look like Bootsie and Snudge?

Dan Nulty
36 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:04:07
I watched the Spurs game, Kevin, Pickford played well. He didn't make any saves that I thought most keepers wouldn't though.

Luckily for us his errors leading to goals in every 1 in 4 games came against Fleetwood.eans he is due one in next 3 games. Hopefully not though.

I think he is capable of being a 'top class keeper', not just a 'top class keeper on his day', which is what I think he is now. His concentration just isn't there to be consistent enough yet.

I think he is another of our players who benefits from not having the crowds in. He has the ability to be brilliant, I hope he is consistently so. For Everton's sake.

Dan Nulty
37 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:07:13
Jay, go easy... takes a lot of guts to put an article up. I understand what you are saying and agree with some of it.

The annoying thing about football is it is all about opinions and the same people can view the same stats differently.

John Pierce
38 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:09:50
I don't believe Pickford will be first choice come next season. Carlo is clever but reasonable and also ruthless. Is he good enough? No, not for me and I suspect not for Carlo either.

However he is a medium-term problem and we have more pressing needs, so in the meantime Carlo will pick him and continue to back him. That's the right way to go.

Sam Hoare has provided an excellent statistical argument, which takes into account the type of shot, how often it's scored etc. It's comprehensive and has at least three years of data, maybe more, Sam? It makes poor reading.

If you want to go by eye, you ask yourself do he do enough to inspire your confidence? Is there a nagging imp on your shoulder worried when a ball comes in the box or he has the ball at his feet? My answer is Yes, and thrice Yes. That may tell us something.

Why has he started every game? Well that's really not worthy of note as we've never had anything approaching competition to vie for his place. He has competition at international level and ‘appears' to play within himself, make less errors, is focused and disciplined. Almost the antithesis of his erratic performances for Everton. To date, Southgate has picked him on his record.

To get Pickford performing like that we need a decent back-up. He needs to feel the heat of losing his place because that will ultimately affect his England place. There is no jeopardy in it for him. This strategy might propel him to better things. However, I think the dye is cast with Carlo and we will buy a new first keeper next summer.

Sam Hoare
39 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:19:59
Kieran Kinsella @29, there may be some truth to that but I think over the course of a season these things even out. Certainly over the course of 3 or 4 seasons. It seems pretty clear that the best shot-stoppers tend to have the best save percentages.

As to David Marshall, his save percentage that 'superman' season was around 66% which rated him very low down the Premier League. So those who lauded him clearly weren't looking at the right stats. Mediocre as you say. Similar to Pickford currently.

Also, your argument that worse teams will have keepers with better save % than good teams is clearly not right as the top 7 last season were Leno, Lloris, Henderson, Schmeichel, De Gea, Allisson and Ederson.

Sam Hoare
40 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:24:18
JP@38,

I can't find the stats source I used last time which was much better but here is another quick article that outlines how Pickford is saving less shots than he would be expected to (taking into account the difficulty of shot):

Premier League Goalie Rankings 2020

Jerome Shields
41 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:58:16
I agree with Jay, this is a tongue-in-cheek article that, while supporting Pickford, is raising questions in a 'just saying' way.

The goalkeeper in any team is very much dependent on the performance and abilities of those in front of him. If Everton won every game 2-1 to the end of the season, Pickford would be judged to have had a great season.

Everton have been an under-performing team throughout Pickford's tenure, so when a goal gets past him, it is judged on two fronts: its impact, often overestimated, as a contributing factor on the overall team performance. . . and as an indication of Pickford's potential future performance.

Pickford is young in goalkeeping terms and still learning. What's more, he has had to adjust to different management requirements, such has been the situation at Everton.

Under Ancelotti, he has had to adjust again to being part of a team that plays out from the back. His distribution now has different requirements and is dependent on players adapting positionally and making themselves available. He is also not as busy as he has been. Pickford has made mistakes, but other teammates have as well.

In the England set-up, Pickford is less prone to mistakes, working well with competent defenders, and competently distributing the ball. This is because of more consistent player performances and a consistent system of play.

So now, all of us have high expectations, including myself, and we will seize on any mistake and under performance. But this present team is still evolving, as are individual player performances, and Pickford's performances with it. Sometimes it will all click and sometimes it will not.

The important thing is that consistency has been established for the first time in 20 years and the players are getting the attributes to achieve this as coaching is being fine-tuned to get the best out of each individual player and lessen the impact of where they individually fall short.

It's not about how they currently play, but the potential of how they can play. Pickford, as England's No 1 and first choice at Everton, has enormous potential – more so than any other goalkeeper – which can be worked on. Back-up may be brought in but it will be in the context of developing Pickford's potential impact on competitions.

Pickford will be England's and Everton's No 1 for the foreseeable future and any mistake he makes will be jumped on more than any other goalkeeper in England. I probably will be first in the queue to do so.

Shane Corcoran
42 Posted 28/09/2020 at 16:58:56
Stats lack value at the best of times but, when it comes to keepers, even more so.

Shot percentage – what kind of shot?
Clean sheets – what's the defence like?
Points cost – is he lucky and getting away with it?

This is a discussion board. If some think the media are out to get him, fair enough. Aren't they all Liverpool fans that hate Everton anyway?

I've been watching Pickford like the rest of you since he joined us. I'm a big boy and can form an opinion without stats or the media.

Pickford may turn out to be better than Southall; or he may not improve one bit. That's the manager's call. He may be as lucky as I feel he's been and not actually be punished for most of the mistakes he makes.

My view is that he needs replacing before it's too late. I don't know who that replacement should be and I doubt we can afford him, but we'll be talking about more and more mistakes in the near future – that is one thing I'm close to sure about.

John Pierce
43 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:01:56
Thanks, Sam. Oddly I think the stats on keepers ‘feel' much closer to your gut instinct than outfield players. I'm not sure why that is or if it's just me.

I did play to a decent level in goal, and like anything you get good at tend to be far more severe in critiquing.

It would be great if we as a team mature this season and Jordan makes the leap too. Also, with the Euros looming, it might just give him the nudge he needs to be better; I think he covets his England place highly, perhaps more than his club place?

Ray Roche
44 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:02:22
Kevin Molloy, @23

It's okay, Kevin... I did realise that you weren't serious – which was why I put the smiley face thingy on my post.

I just don't think Pickford is deserving of all the flak he's taking on here. I wonder if Spurs fans are slagging Lloris off because he didn't save Calvert-Lewin's header? Yet we're... well, some Premier League standard keepers on here, are giving Pickford loads for the Palace goal.

That was a bullet of a header from 4-5 yards away! Hardly any Premier League keeper would have saved that, yet Pickford gets slagged off for it on the matchday forum? For fuck's sake, get real.

Until you've had a spell between the sticks, try and imagine what balls you need to stand there with 90% of the fans giving you stick – and at Goodison, half of them are our own fans!!

Mike Gaynes
45 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:03:39
"Knock him down a few pegs, dent his pride, let him know that he has to work for his place. It should put an end to the cockiness that has cost himself and the team so much recently."

Sorry, Matthew, but I find that to be pure crapola. You can't cite one iota of evidence that his "cockiness" has cost anything. A goal goes in, somebody on the Forum or the site baselessly blames it on his arrogance, and you just hop right aboard. Based on what? A two-second glimpse of his facial expression on TV? Nah. Leave it by the side of the road.

Besides, who the hell wants a humble keeper? Hard to name a great one who wasn't (or isn't) full of pure strut.

Kevin #2 and Christine #5, bravo. (Kev, keep it up, people will get it eventually.)

Kevin #17: "Forster, Butland or Foster"

Gotta be your usual windup, right? Or do you really think one of the old English redwoods (mostly failing at lesser clubs) who couldn't beat out Pickford for England are going to provide "genuine competition" at for him at Everton?

No. No way. If we're going to buy a keeper, don't make it an annual Howler Of The Year contender (Butland) or somebody who goes down for shots like an uprooted tree (Foster) just because they have a British accent and a towering silhouette and a record of past employment, and who might, on a really great day, with the wind just right and their legs working, be almost as good for one game as Pickford.

Get somebody who can be better. And get him from one of the top European leagues, not the Southampton bench or the Championship bargain bin of Premier League leftovers.

In the meantime, if Jordan's okay with Carlo, he's okay with me. We'll eventually get better in goal, either with him or somebody else. As others have said, we still need to improve at other positions first.

Paul Tran
46 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:05:16
I'm been critical of Pickford. For me, I don't think he's arrogant. I bet he works his socks off in training. Everything I've seen on the pitch tells me that he cares passionately about getting results and the quality of his own.performance.

My problem is that I don't trust him. He makes great saves and, as a good goalkeeper, he's put on some great performances. And I really want him to be that consistent keeper that acquires the presence we need.

I just can't see it happening. He lacks presence, has issues with his concentration and nerves. I wouldn't want him behind me if I was still playing.

That's my opinion. If that makes me 'negative', a 'moaner', a 'bad Evertonian'... well, that's fine. I hope he improves, but I'd wager we have another keeper for the start of next season.

Matthew Parry
47 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:06:58
Jay Wood (34)...

Feels like I'm talking to a barrister.

I appreciate people will disagree with content of my article, but there's ways to go about it. If you're going to insist on being a pedant and using that belligerent tone you seem to have adopted, then maybe write some articles of your own.

As Dan (37) rightly said, it's not easy to write a good article and it takes time and effort, and it's a lot harder when people throw it back in your face like you're doing now.

Maybe try to be a bit more understanding in your scrutiny.

Conor McCourt
48 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:11:11
Matthew ,this was an interesting piece but quite frankly I find it to be pointless, ill-timed and playing to the gallery.

My take on things is that this is a new season and we have all criticised individuals and will continue to do so whether the Director of Football, Manager, players etc but I would question if anyone should be subject of a critical article now. My personal view on Jordan is somewhere down the middle of the ToffeeWeb spectrum.

Last season we were atrocious under two different managers and very few individuals came out smelling of roses possibly with the exception of Holgate, Branthwaite, Gordon and largely the strikers.

Which brings me to the wrath of your article. Firstly, Carlo has said he is staying so that's that. Nothing will happen this window so why debate him now?

Secondly his performances don't merit him being singled out; despite how impressive we were against Spurs those two brilliant saves were critical. Not many keepers would have saved both those attempts. Spurs would have been a totally different animal holding onto a lead and I doubt we would have come from behind.

This game was also the platform for increased optimism because we knew that was our biggest challenge from the first four league games which has made the subsequent fixtures much easier as we are now on a roll and have momentum behind us. It is my belief that only a few keepers in the Premier League would have guaranteed us nine points.

Jordan had given away a poor goal in the Carabao Cup but it is irrelevant. I can go through our team and pick out numerous goals this season and blame individuals.

As for Sams percentages they mean nothing and are more of a reflection of how the managers had set the team up and the ease of chances of the opponent. I bet Jordan's save percentage was much higher under Carlo than Marco because the attackers had more pressure on them and it's no coincidence that he came out highest under Allardyce.

If an attacker is getting free shots on goal because the defence and midfield are unbalanced, like last season, then Pickford is always going to struggle. We tighten up this season and – no surprise – Jordan hits 70%.

Martin Mason
49 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:16:56
There is nothing in this article that is substantiated, nothing but malign and prejudiced opinion against somebody who has no right to defend himself other than saying that anybody who knows anything about football rates him as one of the best.

How much more of this nonsense about Pickford are we going to be subjected to? Points that he's lost us this season? Substantiate them. All top goalies appear to make mistakes only a very few that genuinely are mistakes. If we win the game, then any perceived mistake is irrelevant.

Ian Horan
50 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:22:10
I haven't read all the article or the comments; however, the witch hunt for Pickford is getting ridiculous!!!.

Yes his concentration is questionable at times; however, he is England's and Everton's first choice. We would not have won at Spurs without his 2 or 3 critical saves.

It's a team game: before they get through to Pickford, 10 other outfield players have failed. I am no Pickford fan but I do believe he has had far more good games than bad since he joined Everton.

Brian Williams
51 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:27:41
"...and using that belligerent tone you seem to have adopted."

Mathew, Jay hasn't adopted that tone – he was born with it! lol.

Take that in the cojones, Mr Wood, for yer Desperados insults!!! :-)))

How veeeeeeeeery dare you.

Stan Schofield
52 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:29:56
Matthew @47:

Don't act so hurt; it's only a comment.

I actually believe your article is just over-opinionated drivel, and I'm happy to say this because you were happy to write the article. Nobody forced you to write it.

Jerome Shields
53 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:41:01
Matthew #47,

You deserve credit for putting an article in and getting it printed. But, as always with the written word, it can be a more critical medium where you can be punched in the face, with no chance of retaliation. Everybody knows that. Therefore, it is better to let the posters fight it out amongst themselves, as they inevitably do on ToffeeWeb, making no comment.

Your article was built to run to 300 posts, three days and at least one fallout amongst posters.

A really good ToffeeWeb article.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:43:34
Brian, you made me fall out of my chair. As usual.
Robert Tressell
55 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:43:35
Pickford is a talented keeper but not top class like Oblak, Ederson and Alisson.

I'd put him alongside the likes of De Gea and Lloris. Some brilliant saves, some howlers but good at recycling possession for a ball playing side.

Alot of people on here like Burnley's Pope. He's a good keeper in a rudimentary side. His role with the ball is to launch it. He has a deep defence to support him. Would his skills translate well to Everton? Some of them certainly. He's big and commanding and claims the ball well. Is he a better fit than Pickford? Not sure.

Obviously Southgate feels the same with England because he sticks with Pickford (who has generally been very good for England).

Could we improve on Pickford? Probably yes. Who? Not sure.

When? Give it a season.


Kevin Prytherch
56 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:43:57
Mike 45 – I put those names forward as they are decent reliable keepers who might settle for ultimately being a number 2 to Pickford, but whilst at the same time providing some competition.

Lössl is not competition, so Pickford has it easy. I wouldn't say that Foster, Forster or Butland would be our long-term Number 1, but having one of them challenging could be a good thing for Pickford and he might show the consistency he does for England. If he does make some howlers and needs a break out of the team, then I'd rather have one of those 3 than Lossl or Virginia.

We aren't going to sign a world class keeper who will come and be a number 2, so our options are a step up in class from Lössl to provide genuine competition, or a replacement.

Personally I think criticism of the original post is harsh. Pickford has appeared arrogant by laughing off mistakes (he might not be arrogant, but he does sometimes appear it) and he has made more mistakes directly leading to goals than most keepers in the last few seasons. (He was 2nd last season, 3rd the season before with 4 each season. This doesn't count the mistakes that ultimately lead to goals but not directly, of which I'm sure there were a few). He does warrant criticism and needs to improve his consistency.

For those who are stating that they trust in Ancelotti, Ancelotti said the same at the back end of last season.

In July: “He's not doing well,” said Ancelotti. “I spoke to him about this yesterday. There is absolutely no problem. For the quality that he has, and he agreed, he has to be better. He has to be focused on himself, on his performance, day by day to be better. I'm not so worried because he has quality, he has character, but I have to say to him, and I did say to him, that he has to improve."

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:49:01
Save the ones you're supposed to save – that will do for me.

Just as long as he improves the marshalling of his defence by helping to create a bit of calmness, which will only start happening when he starts coming for a few more crosses.

John Pierce
58 Posted 28/09/2020 at 17:56:53
It's not a witch hunt, or overly negative or anything of the sort. The team has raised expectations in just a few weeks. With that comes increasingly forensic looks at your game. Tough!

It's a long held truism that teams who win things have exceptional goalkeepers. Over the road, they only became true title contenders when they bought a centre-back and keeper worthy of their team.

Pickford needs to meet those expectations – that's why he and the position of centre-half is under increasing scrutiny, because deep down we all know if we are to maintain this start those positions are pivotal. His performances are judged over the time he has been here, and if anyone can say he's gotten better in the time then that's flat out wrong.

The very best outlook, is that he has stagnated, and what's this rubbish about being young in keeper years? The average age of a Premier League keeper is 29, he is 26, do we have wait 3 years for him to bloom or get good? Shall we stick him in a grow bag, talk sweetly to him about stories of Banks, Shilton & Seaman and come get him when he's 30 and expect the lad to be Lev Yashin?

They are plenty of keepers in their mid-to late 20s who are waaay better than him, seems they didn't wait to get older before they got good. By the way, that average is the highest in Europe, it only gets younger from there.

Football is faster and quicker than ever before; players are getting younger and burning out more quickly. Is there a keeper in their mid thirties regularly playing in the Premier League and tearing it up?

Fabianski, Schemichel and maybe Lloris, the rest are right in Jordan's age bracket. None of these guys are top top keepers. Age is utterly irrelevant and ability and actual performances are.

No witch hunt – just discussion of a player who should be doing a lot better than he has.

James Head
59 Posted 28/09/2020 at 18:10:20
Todays football especially the Premiere League is surrounded by hype, so many players, in my opinion, are overrated and I think Pickford falls into this category.

I've seen every keeper we've had from Gordon West onwards and we've had some right liabilities, Southall and Martyn were obviously in a class of their own.

But I've got to say, once again just my opinion, that Pickford is too small and never commands his area. He looks like a schoolboy between the sticks and it's plain for all to see he suffers from poor concentration and his communication, which is a vital part of goalkeeping is not good enough. Personally I'd get rid of him if and when we can.

Darren Hind
60 Posted 28/09/2020 at 19:23:09
Unfortunately we don't get to choose when we make an error. Otherwise we'd all make them when nobody was looking.

Pickford made a famous last gasp error in front of the kop and denied us a well-earned point. It was an incredibly painful experience for all Evertonians. Still hurts to think about it. I feel some fans have never forgiven him for that nightmarish moment. But they are going to have to.

The manager has made it abundantly clear that he isn't looking for another keeper. Whether people like it or not, This is our man.

Every player is there to be criticised, but this is our last line of defence. We can either get behind the guy and let him go into games in the knowledge that he can relax and play his game. Or we can keep this intense pressure on him until we destroy him.

I wonder which of the two would most benefit EFC?

John McFarlane Snr
61 Posted 29/09/2020 at 14:14:58
Hi Darren [60] There have been countless players over the years who were, in my opinion, not good enough for Everton but as long as they represented the club, they received my support.

I imagine that I get as frustrated anyone but I don't see the need for character assassination – saying "He's simply not good enough" is I believe adequate. If, as a lot of fans are demanding, he should be replaced, his successor will be given my full support; it's what I believe supporters should do.

Stan Schofield
62 Posted 29/09/2020 at 15:29:42
Darren@60: I think you've hit a nail on the head. When he made that error in the Derby, it kind of did my head in for that weekend, as I'm sure it did most if not all Evertonians. But you're right, we have to move on from that.
Christine Foster
63 Posted 29/09/2020 at 15:31:08
John 61* Totally agree, I have watched all the games this season, seen and heard commentators ready to criticise his every action, even ridicule him when he does things right !
Then there is a line of supporters ready to abuse or ridicule as perceived weakness, never mind any actual mistakes!
My point is simple, Ancelotti will act if HE sees fit. If he likes what he sees that's where we are, if not he will be replaced and that's ok too, as it should be foe every player in the team.
Wake up alert..
We are at the top of the league, to listen to the baying you would imagine we are on the bottom looking for a scapegoat.
It serves noone to continue in this vain, no player is above criticism, but as Darren said, is in the teams best interests? what's the best outcome for EFC?
Pickford will either ride it out or be replaced but it serves noone to condemn and ridicule a player for his every touch of the ball, the smile on his face or the fact it's bloody raining again.
In doing so we destroy what confidence he has and give ammunition to every other team and commentator.

Bill Gall
64 Posted 29/09/2020 at 15:32:53
Personally I don't understand were this article makes any sense. It has all started from the Fleetwood game and since, it seems every man and his dog are jumping on the bandwagon to criticize Pickford.
First off who would you buy to replace him, who you have watched every game he has played in and not made a mistake, or are you just going on games against Everton or videos that don't show mistakes. Remember our neighbors paid a world record fee for a keeper who isn't mistake free.
The article criticizing Pickford comes up with this gem, " playing between the sticks is arguably the most difficult position to play in football " and " keepers are rarely getting as much praise for good performances as they do criticism for bad ones "
Pickford is England's # 1 and also Evertons #1 with praise from both managers, plus other knowledgeable people in the game and that is good enough for me.
Remember, Perfect is without defect,blemish or any imperfection. Perfection, the state or quality of being perfect,
Name me a keeper who is perfect, or do you just want someone who is a little better than Pickford that you watch as regularly and has no mistakes in their games.
Christine Foster
65 Posted 29/09/2020 at 15:38:47
Right you lot, it's my own fault for waking up at 3am and reading TW.. No chance of getting back to sleep! Turn light off and count the sheep tipped over the bar by Pickford..
Ernie Baywood
66 Posted 29/09/2020 at 15:47:42
It was interesting watching the City v Leicester game. Ake lumped a ball to safety up the field instead of turning and playing back to his keeper. Guardiola went crazy on the touchline... and then Leicester immediately attacked and scored (Vardy's flick).

That's exactly what we're trying to do with Pickford. Play the ball back to him so we are on the ball instead of gifting it back to the opposition. 99% of the time you play it back and there's no problem - Jordan deals with it and we're on the move again.

1% of the time we get a calamity and all fingers point at Jordan. He's apparently the problem.

But that's still better than lumping it away. No-one blames Ederson for that brilliant Vardy goal - but it's still a goal conceded.

How many goals do we save by putting Pickford under pressure instead of giving it back to the opposition? That won't go on the stats for a keeper. Mucking up will. Which proves that keeper stats can be nonsense.

Derek Thomas
67 Posted 29/09/2020 at 16:00:18
An average keeper behind a very good team will get you further than a very good keeper behind an average team.

There is no other keeper on the horizon...so improve those in front of him - for now.

Eric Myles
68 Posted 29/09/2020 at 16:02:08
Christine #65, no sense counting sheep in NZ, better off counting humans, there's a hell of a lot less of them.
Dave Abrahams
69 Posted 29/09/2020 at 16:09:10
Ernie (66),if you have players who have confidence holding and playing the ball the system is easier to play, watching Arsenal last night playing this type of passing around the penalty area and even deep in their six yard area, and I was an Arsenal fan, Imwould have been close to blowing several blood vessels, nearly as bad as watching Everton play that system, just not good for a fans health.

When Everton get players who can play the system, I still wouldn’t play it, you’ll never see any team play the ball out like that when they losing by one goal with ten minutes or less to play.

Kieran Kinsella
70 Posted 29/09/2020 at 16:14:49
Dave 69

Funny you should mention that. I recently rewatched the 89 cup final. Even though I knew the dire outcome, I was tearing my hair out watching Everton do just that as the game drew to a close. It was like every single player had to touch the ball every single time Everton had possession. Contrast with Joe Royle era "Get it down there!"

Jay Harris
71 Posted 29/09/2020 at 16:48:06
Dave I agree with you.

A ball doesnt need to be lamped down the pitch you just need to play it for DCL or Richy who will win most 50/50s and be clear through on goal.

It used to be the case that the majority of goals were scored with just 3 touches but IM sure thats not the case now but there is nothing wrong with playing an accurate long ball. The RS do it all the time.

Brian Harrison
72 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:01:25
Dave 69

I totally agree seeing a goalkeeper take a goal kick and pass it to a defender a yard away is madness. The other week you had Lincoln trying to pass their way out from their own box against Liverpool, cant think of a more stupid thing to do. When teams as they often do misplace a pass while trying to play out from the back, it means the opposition get control of the ball yards from the penalty box. Now if the opposition retreat to around the half way line then by all means play out from the back, but to have 2 defenders within a yard of the goalkeeper taking a goal kick invites the opposition to push even more men forward. Now if you string 5 passes together and beat the press fine but if not you end up in trouble.

Obviously a lot of coaches have watched Guardiola implement this system and it has worked for him, but he can buy top class players to play that system, so to try and get every team to play this way is madness. In my humble opinion its because Guardiola always wants footballers at CB that have caused most of his problems. They havent replaced Kompany, a proper defender and Fernandinho was his best CB last year. No surprise that even Barcelona in their prime had Puyol at CB a player who relished defending and Real had Ramos another who loved to defend. Were for me of late city have wanted footballers more than they have wanted a top class defender.

Arthur Westhead
73 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:21:46
In an earlier post it said Pickford has no 'presence' in the box. In that awful black strip he had on saturday you could barely see him in the 6 yard box. In close ups he looked like a small youngster. I wonder who decides he should wear it? For me it should be brightest colour possible to stand out, far more offputting for attacking players.
Ray Roche
74 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:25:31
Arthur, that can work both ways, it also means that a striker won’t have as much chance seeing him out of the corner of his eye if he is less visible.
Mike Gaynes
75 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:30:18
DT #67, great comment.
Paul Hewitt
76 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:39:04
If Pickford was put on the transfer market tomorrow, would any of the so called top 6 teams want him?. The answer is no, I doubt a single premier League club would put a bid in for him. That's how good he is.
Stan Schofield
77 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:42:54
Paul@76: Seriously? Not that old chestnut about the 'top 6'. This was said so many times about Stones, Barkley and Lukaku, and of course we know what happened.

By the way, Pickford already plays for a top-3 team.

John Otway
78 Posted 29/09/2020 at 17:47:37
Paul # 76 Pure supposition and not close to a serious argument
Tony Heron
79 Posted 29/09/2020 at 18:24:01
Mathew, your quite right to highlight the thankless task it can be keeping goal. I used to be between the sticks and I can honestly say I enjoyed very few games and I eventually packed it in at 27. I was absolutely delighted when we signed Pickford, and I couldn't believe there wasn't more competition for him. Now I'm wondering if the various scouting reports saw some of the issues that are now being discussed. My era was the 60's and 70's, when the 1st (& 2nd!) division had several worthy candidates for the yellow Jersey of England, Banks, Bonetti, Springett, Hodgkinson, Waiters, and our own Gordon West to name but a few. Today there are very few contenders. I honestly believe that if we had the same circumstances today Pickford wouldn't get a look in. He brings a lot on himself with his attitude. Arrogance is ok if you produce the goods CONSISTENTLY. As others have said he can look great one minute and like a novice the next. I do believe though that questions have to be asked of the coaching. I mean, is he being told to punch or palm away instead of trying to catch the ball? He needs to go back to basics. Simple saves are just that, so no need for anything fancy. Jack Kelsey, the Arsenal keeper in the late 50's and early 60's used to say that if a goalie had to dive, he wasn't keeping up with the game! Ok, a bit tongue in cheek perhaps, but the message was that concentration and reading the game was the key to keeping your goal intact, a dive was the last resort.
Rob Halligan
80 Posted 29/09/2020 at 18:27:32
Dave # 69, and Brian # 72. I too was watching Arsenal trying their ludicrous goal kick routine. On some occasions, the defender, David Luiz mainly, was passing the ball back to Leno in the six yard box, who was then closed down and then tried a pass almost along the by-line to a defender stood by the corner flag. The defender was instantly closed down and all he could do was hoof it down the pitch, usually to a RS player. So time and time again Arsenal were un-necessarily surrendering possession midway in their own half. Watching it had me on pins, so god knows what it was doing to the Arsenal fans?
Kevin Prytherch
81 Posted 29/09/2020 at 18:31:02
Regarding the other 6 big teams...

Would Liverpool have him ahead of Allison?
Would City have him ahead of Ederson?
Would Utd have him ahead of either De Gea or Henderson?
Would Chelsea have him ahead of Mendy?
Would Spurs have him ahead of Lloris?
Maybe Arsenal might have him ahead of Leno - but I doubt it.

Then go down the league. Would he displace Schmeichel? Or Pope? Or Patricio?

I’d say you’d have to get down to mid table before Pickford would genuinely be considered as an obvious replacement for teams.

Nicholas Ryan
82 Posted 29/09/2020 at 18:33:36
Christine [65] I'm trying to get a mental picture of a rural pub, with sheep being 'tipped over the bar'!
Danny O’Neill
83 Posted 29/09/2020 at 18:48:21
I'm not Pickford's biggest fan. Was that influenced by that incident at the Derby? Possibly, but I don't consider myself to judge a player and hold a grudge over one incident; there's been much more since then both character and ability wise that concern me. But he's our keeper now and will be for at least this season.

I'm hoping that, as with the much beleaguered defence from last season, which hasn't changed, Jordan will benefit from having a far superior and energetic midfield in front of him. Putting my defender's union hat on, being protected from the continuous barrage of attacks arising from losing possession and not pressing to recycle play or break up opposition counters should benefit him.

The criticism of Pickford is also, I feel, fuelled by the national media now. They are doing what they do to young England goalkeepers and have done over the years. Build them up way too young only to knock them down early. Think David James, think Joe Hart. Yes, they may ultimately have not been "top drawer" but they were put on a platform to subsequently be destroyed by a baying media.

A keeper, in my opinion, won't peak until early 30s, even in today's game. And even then, they won't be error free as they are last line of defence as Darren highlights. When you've no-one covering you, your mistakes are magnified, more glaring and more costly. Despite my opening statement, we either stick with him and let him develop in a better team or we replace with someone more established in a year or two. But for now, he's our keeper.

To re-iterate my comments on other threads, not a priority for us in my opinion given where we are. That was the last problem Klopp fixed as he was more focussed getting it right higher up the pitch.

Derek Moore
84 Posted 29/09/2020 at 20:27:30
Goalkeeper is a truly unique position on the football pitch, and isn't really properly quantified yet. That's why debates about the position are as varied as the one is here.
I've said my piece on Pickford before and I'm saying it again here for the final time. The regularly irregular lapses of concentration from our goalkeeper are, in my view, not merely a flaw in Pickfords game that he will one day work through. I believe they're an integral part of the whole Pickford experience. You take it or you leave it ultimately.
Viewed more simply, is he any better a player than he was when he arrived three years ago now? To my mind no, absolutely not. If you want to quarrel at the margin, when you take into account his declining distribution it's arguable he's actually worse than when he arrived here.
I don't hold any grudge against him for any individual mistake he's made. At the end of the day, it's just a game. I should add that I have a great deal of respect for his mental toughness. Having seen other players visibly wither under crowd vitriol Pickfords ability to shrug off some pretty embarrassing mistakes reveals a certain steel in his character as well. I've no doubt he's a singularly determined character and I applaud him for it.
But at the very top level, where we aspire to be and even appear right now to be heading(!), the margins between success and failure are very fine. Much finer than an erratic goalkeeper with a track record of brain snaps anyway. If a chain is as strong as it's weakest link then you or more less have to accept that some nights for no discernible reason at all, that weakest link will be Pickford.
I want to believe it's a resources issue that prevents us upgrading at the position. But there's much more logic for the much simpler view that the club are happy with Pickford and think he's plenty good enough. I'm happy to let logic have the day here, which means of course he's going nowhere soon.
That's fine. The one difference this time is Ancelotti. I don't believe he will suffer or allow standards to fall below a certain level before ringing the changes. How many of our last half dozen gaffers could you legitimately say the same about?
Pickford is no Paul Gerrard or Thomas Myhre thankfully, but he's no Nigel Martyn either. Is he good enough for a club that aims to win things??? We all hope so, even if we don't all necessarily believe so. It's Jordans job and it's up to him what happens though. Time will prove myself either prophet or fool.


Don Alexander
85 Posted 29/09/2020 at 20:58:25
Jordan has never 'kept with a competent team in front of him, ever in his life. It's early days this season admittedly but it seems he's 'keeping behind one now. So I believe we should support him as he tries in instil better habits in himself.

Whether or not he gets dropped is Carlo's shout, but if I was Jordan I'd be thinking last week's vote of confidence is unlikely to be repeated unless he ups his game to consistently be "very reliable", as he was when he arrived.

Ernie Baywood
86 Posted 29/09/2020 at 23:03:58
Dave 69, I don't want to see us playing tiki taka in our 6 yard box, but I also don't want to see us pumping the ball out of play or up the field.

How many late goals did we concede under Moyes? That was exactly his approach - put the ball somewhere 'safe' and then it comes straight back at us.

There's a balance, and we haven't yet quite found it. Nor did Arsenal the other night.

But I stand by Carlo's thinking. And Pep's.

I don't want to see Keane and Mina trying to turn on the ball. And I don't want to see them hit it on the turn for a throw in or out to the halfway line. So it has to go back to Jordan. It seems there's disagreement on here but I think he is very good with his feet... a modern keeper.

It saves us goals conceded. It just won't appear on any individual's stats. It does put some negative stats on Pickford's record though. But everyone needs to be big enough to understand and accept that.

Danny O’Neill
87 Posted 29/09/2020 at 23:35:00
I agree Bernie, there is a balance. Retaining possession is the best way of ensuring the opposition don't have the ball. And sometimes "getting rid" and hoofing the ball up the other end (percentage football) simply gives the ball back to the other team only for it to come straight back at you.

I get people's concerns with "arsing around" at the back, but with the right players, I'm an advocate of keep the ball. If we have the ball, if we have possession, the opposition don't. If the opposition doesn't have the ball, they can't hurt you. If we have it, we can hurt them.

Paul Burns
88 Posted 03/10/2020 at 11:55:47
Pickford is not good enough and makes far too many errors.

If people are prepared to have that in our team then we're wasting our time trying to improve the team in other areas.

He's not good enough, that's the only factor to be considered. To be successful we need a top 11 on the pitch, not 10 and a goalie who makes good saves sometimes.

Ernie Baywood
89 Posted 03/10/2020 at 12:13:24
Paul, I could find you a keeper who very rarely makes mistakes. So can pretty much every scout and certainly every Premier League manager.

It's easy.

You just don't win enough games if you play a keeper who never makes a mistake.

Tony Abrahams
90 Posted 03/10/2020 at 12:43:25
I listened to Klopp after that game say Arsenal were being brave Rob H@80. Naive would be a better description imo, because if a team wants to be brave, go and play further forward in the midfield, rather than playing round at the back with defenders who don’t really want to play in there.
Paul Burns
91 Posted 03/10/2020 at 17:35:11
Ernie he's not good enough and proved it again today.

If you want to carry on putting up with sub-standard players like in the last 20 years then feel free but me and, finally it seems Everton, want to move on dispense with mediocrity.

Phil Wood
92 Posted 06/10/2020 at 07:48:28
I was watching his best of saves last night and comparing them to other 'keepers. I must admit not many stopped shots as he has done.

I have been screaming at the TV looking at his mistakes this season but would be very wary of dropping him unless we are swopping with real real quality. It was just a wake-up call looking at his erratic brilliance at times.

I would hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Until the best is available then I would invest in the best goalkeeping coach. Whoever that may be.

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