20/03/2024 43comments  |  Jump to last

Writing for the Mail, Brian Viner marks what could be Jordan Pickford's 60th England cap this week by saying that the Everton goalkeeper, "hasn't been merely reliable for England, he has been consistently excellent, some might even say superb.

"Pickford should be lionised for the way he plays for the Three Lions. Any other country would cherish him. 

"But here, he is routinely belittled by football writers and pundits who rarely find anything more positive to say about him than a grudging, 'He's never let England down'. 

"Gary Neville, at least acknowledges he is worth his international place. But he damns with faint praise, suggesting the Everton man habitually 'raises his game' for England

"This, too, is nonsense. Any Evertonian who watches Pickford most weeks knows that both last season and the one before he pretty much single-handedly steered the club clear of relegation."

» Read the full article at Daily Mail

Reader Comments (43)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 20/03/2024 at 08:50:14
If this was written in any journal other than the Mail, I would view this as very fair comment. Jordan is, despite his occasional rushes of blood, an excellent goalkeeper for Everton and England.

Given that it's in the Mail, it feels like a sales pitch.

Joe McMahon
2 Posted 20/03/2024 at 09:16:30
This is interesting as his many good performances are often under the radar, as it's unfashionable Everton, the relegation candidates.

I'm also slightly surprised that, even when "BBC/Sky 7 Teams" change their keepers, Pickford isn't considered. Jordan has been brilliant for us the last 3 seasons but, if he did go, I also have faith in Virginia.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 20/03/2024 at 09:17:49
Excellent shot stopper who has given us (well me) breathless moments. As Peter says, he has his moments but has matured.

I'd still like him to be more commanding of his box, but he has literally saved us these past few seasons.

Lee Courtliff
4 Posted 20/03/2024 at 09:26:41
If he has another excellent tournament for England in the summer, we may well be in a position where we have to consider selling him.

The likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, etc are hardly blessed with great keepers at the moment and Jordan is entering his peak years. He must surely want to achieve more than merely avoiding relegation before he retires. And, he's probably better suited to the style of the Top 6 than our present Dyche-ball era.

If we sold him, Branthwaite and Onana then we could be looking at the best part of £200M! I'm not sure we can turn that down at the present time.

I certainly don't want to sell these players but, unfortunately, that's where we are these days.

Alan McGuffog
5 Posted 20/03/2024 at 09:27:02
There was talk that Kelleher, across the park, was unsettled due to lack of game time. He'd be worth a punt although that lot know how to squeeze every penny…
Paul Smith
6 Posted 20/03/2024 at 09:32:20
Jordan is quality and we should never take him for granted. Everton's No 1 and England's after that.
Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 20/03/2024 at 10:11:12
I wouldn't want to lose any of those players, but if it happens just make sure we have replacements lined up.

Let's not forget, we got Branthwaite for £1M.

I don't think Virginia has looked too bad when he's stepped in. I think he's only on contract until next year though.

Kevin Edward
8 Posted 20/03/2024 at 10:30:46
Definitely doesn't get the credit he deserves as England's No 1. He put the Euros on a plate for Southgate and they managed to blow it.

And no doubt without him we would be uncomfortably sitting in the Championship by now. Unfortunately, he needs to keep us up again as we don't seem to have any strikers capable of doing it.

Charles Ward
9 Posted 20/03/2024 at 10:39:48
Branthwaite for £1M!

Hope Carlisle Utd put in some type of sell-on clause which would keep them afloat for a couple of years.

Kelleher is an interesting one. Good shot-stopper, quick with his feet but doesn't look anywhere near as comfortable with high-line football as the likes of Allison or Ederson.

Whether he would be a better option for the fee involved than Virginia is another debate.

Colin Glassar
10 Posted 20/03/2024 at 10:57:22
Peter #1, Viner is an Everton fan so I don’t think his intention is to sell Pickford, rather give give him the recognition he deserves.
Brian Harrison
11 Posted 20/03/2024 at 11:08:17
Jordan Pickford is a great shot stopper, and has done well for us over the years. He sometimes gets involved way outside his area when there is no need, also why he takes every free kick even those on the half way line. What is really puzzling Pickford has been the England keeper for a number of years, and playing at a club that has mainly been in the bottom half of the table during his time as England keeper. Yet Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd have all changed their keepers in the time Jordan has been Englands keeper, but as far as we know none of these clubs made an offer for Jordan.
Charles Ward
12 Posted 20/03/2024 at 15:01:09
Brian only the City keeper is better than Jordan. Arsenal don’t seem to be able to make their minds up who is their number one, the less said about Kepa once of Chelsea the better and Onana certainly isn’t an improvement but he’s ex Ajax.
Alan J Thompson
13 Posted 20/03/2024 at 15:12:46
I have to agree with Brian(#11) that given the money some other clubs have payed for their keepers that they may have at least shown an interest in England's and the Premier League's most consistent keeper. Doesn't he hold some sort of record for England of most or longest run of clean sheets?
Christine Foster
14 Posted 20/03/2024 at 18:05:10
I think it's because he is not playing for a Top 6 side; it's Everton so he can't be that good. It's a lot about bias – not ability.
Ian Pilkington
15 Posted 20/03/2024 at 18:24:30
Jordan is second only to Big Nev in EFC goalkeeping history, but not only is he undervalued in the media, some posters on here regularly advocate that we sell him at “the right price”. Unthinkable.

Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 20/03/2024 at 18:56:48
Pickford is a great reactions shot stopper, and has also been a great servant to Everton, but he has never commanded his box enough for me, which is why he his behind both Southall, and Martin, on my list of great Everton keepers.

Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 20/03/2024 at 19:01:39
Agree with that Tony, although he has ventured more recently, he still prefers his 6 yard box.

A kicks like a Rugby player.

But some of the saves he makes defy gravity and cause me to stop breathing for 30 seconds or so!!!

As I've commented, what a missed chance not getting Martyn in his prime even though he was was a fine keeper even in his twilight.

Robert Tressell
18 Posted 20/03/2024 at 19:35:35
Kellerher would probably cost about £30m (+). On that basis forget about signing him even if we sell Pickford, Branthwaite and Onana.

Pickford is a Champions League style and standard goalkeeper. He's also one our few long servers and established figures. He'd be a real loss if he does depart.

Lee Courtliff
19 Posted 20/03/2024 at 19:43:58
The main weakness in his game is his lack of ability to dominate his area, mainly because he's not 6ft 7in giant like Pope or Begovic. This wouldn't be as much of a problem at a CL club as they dominate most games.

But, if we're going to stick with Dyche, we're probably better off with a giant keeper as we spend so much time defending, camped in our box and playing mainly on the break/set pieces.

I remember how comfortable we looked against Newcastle (the Iwobi game with the 99th minute winner) even though we had to defend countless set pieces. Because we had Begovic in goal that night and he simply dominated his area. The difference between him and Pickford was staggering, especially considering that Jordan is the superior goalkeeper.

Horses for Courses, and all that.

Peter Mills
20 Posted 20/03/2024 at 22:59:42
Colin #10, thanks for that info.
Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 20/03/2024 at 23:49:42
Pete, you know I'm biased, but I've never read anything from Viner that I didn't consider fair -- not to mention quality work -- and I think this should be taken at face value without regard for where it's published.

And as you also know, I share Viner's regard for Pickford, from whom I haven't seen one of those "rushes of blood" in several years now. He really has mastered not only his craft but his own wilder impulses.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 20/03/2024 at 00:07:41
Tony and Danny,

I think it's impossible to compare Southall and Pickford. It's an entirely different game now.

For one thing, no goalie could get away with being so overweight as Southall was from the early '90s. The old crew could also catch a breath by picking up endless passbacks.

Distribution was a big punt to the accompaniment of “Ohhhhh bull shitter”… so yeah, he was better at some things but much worse at others valued in the modern game.

Paul Ferry
23 Posted 21/03/2024 at 02:17:48
Viner wrote my favourite ever Everton book. If memory serves, Mike G, you spent time with him on your last trip?

Christine 14: I think it's because he is not playing for a Top 6 side; it's Everton so he can't be that good. It's a lot about bias – not ability.

That's not true, Christine. Being with us will not stop Branthwaite (sadly) or Onana (gladly) getting a move to a Top 6 side. Being at Everton did not really harm Wayne Rooney, did it?

I'm not saying for one second that Jordan is not worthy of a move far up the Premier League. I would hate to see him go. After a difficult courtship, I'm in love now. I simply do not believe that being with us is Jordan's first and foremost obstacle to a move like this.

I wonder what he in his prime would cost? Top English players tend to cost more than imports.

Christine Foster
24 Posted 21/03/2024 at 03:45:04
Paul, my point was that many begrudge the fact he chooses to stay at Everton when he is clearly a top keeper. He does have his frailties but they are more than made up for by his shot-stopping, which can be exceptional.

He is somewhat tainted by playing for us – you only have to read the utter garbage comments at the end of Viner's article to see this.

Paul Ferry
25 Posted 21/03/2024 at 03:58:33
I wasn't being hyper-critical, Christine. I always look forward to your posts.

Not sure how those gushing last sentences suggest him being tainted. They could be read to read the exact opposite. But they are overly gushing. Strange that he doesn't quote our Neville.

I think that the Top 6 see us as just something else to be exploited and raided when one of ours catches their grubby and greasy eye. We're fair game to the bloodsuckers, like any other also-ran.

Mike Gaynes
26 Posted 21/03/2024 at 04:51:17
PF #23, yes, I had that good fortune, and Mr Viner is a top gentleman, a top host and a top Blue of lifelong standing, as his book Looking for the Toffees detailed.

Personally I think you have little to fear in terms of Top 6 destinations for either Onana (this summer) or Jarrad (hopefully 2025), because I'd bet they are both destined for Europe. I can't see our old friend Carlo allowing anybody in England to outbid him for Jarrad.

Paul Ferry
27 Posted 21/03/2024 at 05:08:41
I hope you're right, Mike. I don't care that much about Onana, but Jarrad has that happy European experience under his belt already and I don't like the thought of him at The Old Lady or the Dock in a Man Utd or any other Premier League shirt, though I might grudgingly accept Pep, but they don't need him.

Looking for the Toffees is the book in my mind, as you knew. This was also my time and your friend Brian captures it brilliantly.

Do you mind me asking how you know him? Does it go back to your reporter days?

Hope all is well with health and home.

Paul Ferry
28 Posted 21/03/2024 at 05:13:44
That said, MG, now I think again, everybody would like a Branthwaite.
Danny O’Neill
29 Posted 21/03/2024 at 06:22:29
I don't think we were trying to compare, Kieran, as no two players are the same. You can draw parallels and similarities, but everyone is different.

Pickford is different from Southall. Pickford is a very good keeper with certain strengths that many have documented here. I like how he has matured over the past few seasons. It's not easy being an Everton defender or goalkeeper right now, but he keeps us in the fight.

Like many, I've been fortunate to witness both.

He wasn't such a big frame in his prime and very athletic. Apparently known for him staying behind to continue training. Yes, he was carrying a bit of timber in his later years, but testimony to his ability to carry on and help us win our last trophy with a couple of great saves in the 1995 FA Cup Final. He still had it despite the weight gain.

Interesting article from an interview in The Independent in 2019:

The art of shot-stopping: Neville Southall on tennis-ball drills, cricket-bat saves and intimidation

Alan McGuffog
30 Posted 21/03/2024 at 09:05:25
Paul... I agree about Onana. I find myself overcome with indifference.

There is a player in there somewhere but if another outfit wants to pay north of £60 million, then so long.

He'll be remembered in the same light as Danny Williamson and Per Krøldrup.

David Garner
32 Posted 21/03/2024 at 11:08:58
According to the Guardian, Nick Pope is the best goalkeeper this season.

Goalkeeper: Nick Pope, Newcastle

Nick Pope has not played since the beginning of December, but he remains the best English goalkeeper this season. The 31-year-old's ongoing absence has proved catastrophic for Eddie Howe's side. Since his injury against Manchester United, the team's defensive record has plummeted from one of the very best in the league, to one of the worst. Newcastle conceded three or more goals in just one of the 14 league matches Pope has started this season; in the 14 games without him, they have allowed that to happen eight times. Rating: 6.72

What if the England team was picked using stats for the season?
Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 21/03/2024 at 11:33:05
I couldn't read the full article about Pickford because it was locked in.

The last piece on the opening page that: Any Evertonian who watched Everton over the last two seasons knows that he pretty much single-handedly steered the club clear of relegation, needs a good coat of looking over.

Blue tinted glasses for me. Pickford helped, no doubt, along with quite a few other players, and all of them hindered as well as helped too.

Rob Jones
34 Posted 21/03/2024 at 12:02:41
How is a player simultaneously rubbish but also worth £60M?
Dave Abrahams
35 Posted 21/03/2024 at 12:05:56
Rob (34),

The £60M part always puzzles me.

Paul Ferry
36 Posted 21/03/2024 at 17:06:15
I can give you many examples, Rob J, of players whose price dwarfs their talent. Shall we start with Steve Daley and perhaps end with Beto?

If Arsenal are prepared to cough up an insane £60M for Onana, that's their problem, not ours.

Rob Jones
37 Posted 21/03/2024 at 17:22:31
On Beto, is it perhaps worth noting that no striker has succeeded at Goodison Park (outside of Calvert-Lewin under Carlo Ancelotti) since Lukaku? That better managed, or at least in a tactical set-up which plays to his strengths, he might yield a higher goal tally?

After all, we've seen this very thing with Neal Maupay at Brentford. Hell, if Dominic returned to being primarily a penalty-box striker (as he was under Ancelotti, and as Ollie Watkins is under Emery), we'd see a lot more goals, but would lose much of his output as a target man.

As far as I'm concerned, when Arsenal or an other club cough up that "insane £60M" for Onana, we'll see a MUCH, MUCH better player. Up until the penalty debacle, I don't recall seeing this level of bile spewed about Onana. A lot of people soured on him that night, and as a result, refuse to acknowledge that he's a very good player.

As for Steve Daley, I'm going to defer to your knowledge, given that I'm only 35.

Paul Ferry
38 Posted 21/03/2024 at 19:42:09

I don't think that any "bile" has been "spewed" on Onana (Okay, perhaps on the Live Forum).

It's not "bile" to say that Onana is not worth £60M. Nor is it "bile" to say that he is a frustrating player or that his long passing and shooting can be erratic or that, for a fella his size, it's surprising he doesn't nab more goals or make himself an utter pest in the other side's box or penalty area.

These are all valid criticisms and others have other points of view, That's what makes the world go round.

Paul Ferry
39 Posted 21/03/2024 at 19:44:31
Sorry Rob, I meant to add that the "no striker succeeds at Everton" line is trotted out quite a lot and can be quite misleading.

Another way of seeing that is to ask, How the feck does our scouting/buying crew manage so often to bring in strikers not good enough to succeed at Everton?

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 21/03/2024 at 20:03:55
Rob (37),

Steve Daley was a decent midfielder with Wolves and I think the football fans of English football were amazed when he was transferred to Man City for a record English transfer fee of nearly £1.5M.

Paul Ferry
41 Posted 21/03/2024 at 22:22:17

This is a link to the extended highlights from the Old Lady 22 December 1979 when we played Man City. Steve Daley is in the City team and Gerry Sinstadt (commentator and legend) in his own professional inimical way alludes precisely to what Dave is saying at #40

I don't want to be a spoiler Rob, but Daley does actually score, but only because Garry Stanley makes a huge howler.

Tommy Caton from Bootle is playing at the back for City.

I was at this game!


Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 22/03/2024 at 14:17:21
Paul (41),

Just watched that game. Jesus, we missed some chances and gave the two goals away.

Some decent players in that team though: Asa Hartford (named after Al Jolson) who never stayed long, Brian Kidd, Trevor Ross and Andy King who missed one of those chances but more than made up for it on other occasions.

Paul Ferry
43 Posted 22/03/2024 at 18:33:05
I didn't know that about Asa, Dave.

I remember Trevor Ross having his critics – but not me, a very clever technical player with a shot in him.

Rob Jones
44 Posted 22/03/2024 at 19:26:18
Paul, I do agree with you that Onana isn't all that he can be (it's precisely why I think he'll be something special at a better team). But you can see the before and after (certainly on the Live Forum) in some of the shit that people say about him. It dates back to the penalty against Fulham.

As for strikers, I think a lot of it has come down to mismanagement. Somehow, the only manager who's come close to effectively using a striker at Goodison has been Ancelotti with Calvert-Lewin. A succession of managers have failed to cater to his strengths (including Dyche, I'll add), using him as a battering ram rather than as a penalty-box finisher. Every striker has been used in broadly the same way for years, and then management have been baffled that it's not worked.

The fact that Lampard kept trying to use Neal Maupay as a lone striker should have been a sackable offence, let alone the disastrous run of form that we're currently revisiting under Dyche (not advocating for his removal).

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