England: Andy Dunn on why Southgate 'sticks' with Pickford
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Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is reportedly concerned that his current injury problems mean he could miss out on England’s Euro 2020 squad. Pickford was Gareth Southgate’s first-choice in between the sticks at the 2018 World Cup and he has continued to be a regular for England.
The 27-year-old suffered an abdominal injury in Everton’s 2-1 defeat to Burnley last month, which saw him miss Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Manchester City and England’s recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Now, according to a report from the Sun, Pickford is concerned that he could miss out on the Euros altogether if he suffers any further injury setbacks.
The report states that Southgate has a rule that he will not take any half fit players to a major tournament and that could also see Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson miss out.
However, Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti believes the current injury will not affect Pickford’s chances of going to the Euros.
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When asked if it could, Ancelotti replied: “No absolutely not.
“At least in one week, ten days, he will be available to play. No, no problem for the Euros.”
In Pickford’s absence, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope started all three games, becoming the first England stopper to keep clean sheets in his first six international games.
Southgate was full of praise for Pope, saying: “Nick has proven through his time at Burnley to be one of the best goalkeepers in the league and the height of consistency.
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“The primary job for a goalkeeper is to keep the ball out of the net first and foremost, it is at times a much under-valued trait and he is very good at it.
“He is competent with the ball at his feet, there are obviously players that are playing in different patterns with their clubs but he has coped more than well in the matches we have had.
“Kosovo away was a game where although we had qualified there was the pressure of the crowd and it was a good experience for him to be in a competitive qualifying game so I have been really comfortable with Nick being in between the posts for us.
“I have not had to spare a second thought and I haven’t spoken to him about it too much during the week because I am happy for him to crack on with his job and he has a great temperament for these sorts of games.”
Manchester United legend Roy Keane has backed Pope to be England’s first-choice at the Euros, telling ITV after England’s 2-0 win over Albania: “We used the word trust, trust in certain players in big games.
“I wouldn’t trust Pickford to go and try and win a big tournament.
“The big plus for Pope, obviously a very good goalkeeper, but I think he has got a great temperament about him. I look at Pickford and sometimes his head looks all over the place.
“I go back a few years to when Joe Hart was in goal and he seemed to be lively and giddy in the tunnel. But I look at Pope and think: ‘Nice temperament’.”
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