Belfast Telegraph

Pickford: I wouldn't put myself at risk of making an error like Alisson

 

By Simon Peach

England No.1 Jordan Pickford insists he would not take the sort of risk which saw Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson left red-faced.

Alisson, signed by Liverpool this summer for a then-world record fee for a goalkeeper, is renowned for being good with the ball at his feet.

But the Brazil international cost the Reds a goal in their recent 2-1 win at Leicester as he was caught in possession while trying to turn past Kelechi Iheanacho, leading to Rachid Ghezzal scoring into an empty net for the Foxes.

Ball-playing goalkeepers have been in the headlines since the start of the season, with Alisson's huge move from Roma eclipsed by Chelsea, who signed Kepa in a £71m deal from Athletic Bilbao.

Manchester City won the Premier League title with Ederson in goal, a player who is also adept on the ball, and Pickford has also established himself as first-choice with both England and Everton because of his similar ability.

The 24-year-old - who helped the Three Lions to the semi-finals of the World Cup - believes he knows when it is appropriate to put faith in his skills.

"The quality of goalkeepers is very good, you have to be good at using your feet," he said. "It's something I'm good at. The new manager at Everton, Marco Silva, is big on it, playing out. It's all about decision-making, doing it at the right times, and I never put myself in too much risk."

Asked if he had ever had a moment like Alisson suffered at the King Power Stadium, Pickford - who will start when England face Spain in the Uefa Nations League tomorrow - replied: "I try not to (do tricks) because I don't want to be caught with it. It's a risk.

"If it comes off it looks good, and if it doesn't… it's a style of play, and I think that's the way Liverpool want to play as well. You've got to give that one where mistakes will happen and it's about not making the next one.

"For me, I'm going to try not to put myself in that position to make those mistakes. If it's on to do, I'll do it, and if it's not, we'll manage the game. For myself, that's where I learn more. The more games you play the more game management you learn."

While the clamour for football-playing goalkeepers continues, Arsenal's Petr Cech has been in the spotlight having struggled to adapt to the demands.

The 36-year-old has looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet as new Gunners head coach Unai Emery demands his side play out from defence.

But Pickford believes any criticism of the four-time Premier League winner is misplaced.

"He's been the top keeper in the Premier League for the last 10 or 12 years," he said of Cech.

"You can't give him too much criticism. He's a great goalkeeper and someone you look up to."

Belfast Telegraph

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