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Gareth Southgate backs Jordan Pickford to come out stronger after scrutiny

The Everton goalkeeper has made some high-profile errors at times this season.

Jordan Pickford endured a tough afternoon as Everton were beaten by Newcastle last weekend (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Jordan Pickford endured a tough afternoon as Everton were beaten by Newcastle last weekend (Owen Humphreys/PA)

England manager Gareth Southgate insists Jordan Pickford will benefit from coming under scrutiny of late.

The Everton goalkeeper, who starred for the Three Lions in their run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer, has made some high-profile errors at times this season.

Pickford endured a tough afternoon as the Toffees were beaten 3-2 at Newcastle last weekend – with a couple of mistakes compounded by a running exchange with a host of home fans at St James’ Park.

The 25-year-old is likely to remain Southgate’s first-choice for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against the Czech Republic and Montenegro after being included in the squad alongside Jack Butland and the returning Tom Heaton.

The form of Burnley stopper Heaton will make Southgate’s decision harder but he welcomed the discussions as to who should be England’s number one.

“We don’t have many English goalkeepers playing, all of those that are playing have had moments and spells of good form, making good saves and days when they have not been so good,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSPORT.

“Jordan has been our first choice for the recent period so it is probably the first time he has felt that spotlight a little bit more intensely.

“That is good for his development. He is a young goalkeeper still who needs to respond in the right way to the comments and observations that have been made.

“We are looking forward to working with him next week. In our environment he has worked well and had a consistent level of achievement.”

Southampton pair Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn will no doubt be taken into consideration for future squads if one of them can establish themselves as the undisputed first-choice at St Mary’s, while Dean Henderson – on loan at Sheffield United from Manchester United – was also mentioned by Southgate.

But Pickford’s performances in an England shirt are enough to keep the manager happy with his contribution for now as he called on the former Sunderland man to keep pushing on.

“Jordan has played extremely well for us,” he said.

“I think you could look at any of the players across the squad and say they’ve had moments where they’ve played well and moments where they’ve had difficult afternoons. No question that was the case for Jordan at the weekend.

“But if I look at what he’s done with us, and when you’re picking your squad there has to be an element of what they are doing with their club and an element of what they’re doing and have done with us – his performances with us have been excellent.

“I’m never keen to say that ‘this player is the number one, and that’s it’, and ‘this player in that position is our number one choice’ because you’ve always got to have competition for places.

“But, we’re pleased with what Jordan’s done and we’ve got to help him through what was hopefully a blip at the weekend. Like everybody else, he has to train well and perform well.”



From Belfast Telegraph