Everton's Jordan Pickford proves it is NONSENSE to say he is too rash

Jordan Pickford proves it is NONSENSE to say he is too rash and cannot be trusted – the Everton goalkeeper put in a miraculous performance against Chelsea and could keep Frank Lampard’s side up

  • Jordan Pickford performed heroics in Everton’s 1-0 win vs Chelsea on Sunday 
  • The Everton goalkeeper proved he is worthy of being England’s No 1 stopper 
  • Pickford might well keep the Toffees up if he maintains this phenomenal form 

Jordan Pickford had ripped off his gloves and began to scream and shout towards ecstatic supporters in the Park End. 

Quickly he was celebrating with Yerry Mina, whooping and hollering after Everton’s remarkable victory against Chelsea on Sunday.

He had every reason for this outpouring of emotion, his heroics encapsulated by a save from Cesar Azpilicueta that led Evertonians to make comparisons with Neville Southall, the best goalkeeper his club have ever seen.

Jordan Pickford  (above) was in unstoppable form in his side’s 1-0 win vs Chelsea on Sunday

The Everton goalkeeper hugged Yerry Mina (right) after a brilliant save from Cesar Azpilicueta

Some will have been surprised. There is a tired view of Pickford that he is rash and cannot be trusted in big occasions, an emotional individual who is prone to costly mistakes. His biggest critics would argue he is fortunate to be England’s No 1. 

That theory is nonsense. Everton are fighting relegation and have shipped 55 goals, but Pickford’s reputation has been enhanced and he proved it by showing to a wider audience what he shows to those who work with him on a daily basis.

Alan Kelly, Everton’s goalkeeping coach, rushed over to Pickford after he had finished back-slapping with Mina. What made this little union different was that no words were exchanged.

‘Sometimes you don’t need to say anything, do you?’ Kelly tells Sportsmail. ‘The pressure around this game and the performance he produced, I just gave him a look that said, ‘I’m proud of you, son’. I knew what he had done, he knew and the crowd knew, too. I was delighted.’ With good reason. 

Kelly, whose own career saw him win 34 caps for the Republic of Ireland and go to the 1994 and 2002 World Cups, has been working closely with Pickford for the best part of five years and has helped smooth the rough edges of his game. 

After racing across his line, the Toffees star ran back to the other side to deny the Spaniard

Pickford’s heroic stop at Goodison Park is one of the best saves of the Premier League season

Pickford has made 103 saves in this campaign, none better than the one from Azpilicueta, but the block with his face to deny Antonio Rudiger was not far behind. The most significant statistic of all, however, revolves around mistakes that have led to goals.

There has only been one in 31 appearances – in the 5-0 loss at Tottenham in March – and it lances the idea that Pickford is an accident waiting to happen. That perception is alien to Kelly, who sees a man on a permanent quest for self-improvement.

‘I have always been quite calm but that save really was a ‘wow!’ moment,’ he says of the Azpilicueta save, when Pickford had to scramble across his goal after Mason Mount’s initial shot had rebounded off a post. 

‘I thought, ‘How has he got a glove on that?’. I have worked in football all my life, but I’m as appreciative of brilliance on the pitch as anyone in the crowd and that was absolutely brilliant.

‘To explain the technical side of it, once he has got up from the first shot he’s got to be quick enough to get back into position after being wrong-footed but also slow himself down and remain calm enough to decide when he will dive for the second shot. I’d say what he did was acrobatic but, really, it was miraculous.’

Pickford also dived bravely towards Antonio Rudiger, saving the German’s shot with his face

He also denied Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic in the dying stages to secure three points for his team

One thing that has been noticeable about Pickford of late is his appearance. Kelly might enjoy pulling his leg about an Alice band he has been wearing — ‘he says it’s got something to do with fashion’ — but what he cannot fault is the physical work that has enabled him to tone up and gain speed.


‘People do not see it behind the scenes,’ explains Kelly. ‘There is scrutiny and pressure on his shoulders but he just puts the work in and that’s the best way to deal with it. People can have their theories but, believe me, his preparation gives him the best chance to perform at the top level.

‘He has looked at everything. It’s strength and conditioning, we work hard every day in training. You have to think about it — if he is bulky and muscly, it’s going to take a fraction longer to get off the ground.

‘What you saw against Chelsea was the perfect evidence of how seriously he is committed to being the very best.’

He is also totally committed to leading Everton out of this difficult situation. With performances like the one against Chelsea, they might yet do it.

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