Jordan Pickford: Can he join elite club with Ray Wilson?

by   |   07/06/2024  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Jordan Pickford is in the squad that is favourite to win the 2024 European Championships. 

So can Pickford become the first Everton player since Ray Wilson in 1966 to win a medal at a major international football competition for England? 

England are the betting favourite

Jordan Pickford and his international teammates certainly have a chance of success this summer - at least in the eyes of the bookmakers. The Three Lions are 3/1 favourites to lift the trophy for the first time in their history. After England is France at 7/2, and then Germany at 4/1. The football betting markets have consistently had the same three favourites. Elsewhere in the latest EURO odds, Pickford is 1/80 to start in goal for England in their opening match of the competition.

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Established No.1

Over the past couple of seasons, Jordan Pickford’s place has been questioned by some pundits and on social media.

The form of Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal and Nick Pope at Newcastle, combined with the odd error by the Everton keeper, has at times led to calls for Gareth Southgate to change his goalkeeper.

But Southgate has remained steadfastly loyal to Pickford. Even when things were going wrong.

Southgate’s loyalty has at times had its critics, and understandably so. But even when the odd error has crept into Pickford’s game, Southgate has looked at the overall contribution of Pickford, such as his distribution, and his understanding with John Stones and the now-injured Harry Maguire at the back, and kept faith with him.

Such defensive combinations don’t take shape overnight, and the trio of Pickford, Stones and Maguire have had to work hard to build an understanding when on international duty. So unless Pickford’s form completely fell off a cliff, he was always going to fend off the challenges posed by his Premier League rivals, no matter how well they were doing at the time. 

Coming into the prime of his career

Jordan Pickford is now 30 years old. He is only just reaching the prime years for a goalkeeper. He has over 50 caps for his country and has represented England at every major championship since the 2018 World Cup in Russia, making Euro 2024 his fourth successive competition as England’s No.1.

Pickford has also had a good season for his club. Only Arsenal’s David Raya kept more clean sheets in the Premier League. Raya had 16, Pickford 13, and the next best were the ten clean sheets kept by Bernd Leno and Ederson. As a result, Raya won the EPL Golden Glove award.

Such has been Pickford’s form, he also won the Supporters Player of the Year award in the 2023/24 season for the third year in succession. The form debate around Pickford has not totally gone out of the window.

An Everton legend

Let’s get one thing straight, Ray Wilson is a Goodison Park legend. His achievements at the international level will be hard to beat by any Englishman.

All Jordan Pickford can do for now is try and win a major championship in Germany this summer. If he can achieve it, then he could surpass the great Ray Wilson if England could follow that up with a World Cup win in 2026.

As unlikely as that all is, there is a slim chance it could happen. But even if it does, Ray Wilson will always remain the first Everton player to ever win a World Cup for England. No one can take that record away. 

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