Jordan Pickford flirts with the Joe Hart career path

Ollie Irish

16th, July 2020


“The bottom line with Pickford – I don’t need to see the stats. I know he’s not a good goalkeeper. He’s not up to it.” – Roy Keane, March 2020

I wrote recently about the crashing demise of Joe Hart, and how sad it is. I mean, I’m not saddened in any meaningful way, but it is a sad thing to happen to anyone. Shocking, even.

Jordan Pickford has been one of the worst goalkeepers in the Premier League since his starring role for England in the 2018 World Cup (hindsight does not favour Gareth Southgate’s side). He makes mistakes more often than most other top-flight keepers. His saves-per-shots ratio is poor. And he’s too emotional at times – he can’t be a calming presence for the defenders in front of him (Joe Hart was a ranter and shouter too).

Now, worryingly, Carlo Ancelotti has put the boot in, after Everton’s defeat against Wolves on Sunday. Ancelotti said about Pickford:

“He’s not doing well. I spoke to him about this yesterday. There is absolutely no problem. For the quality that he has, and he agreed, he has to be better. He has to be focused on himself, on his performance, day by day to be better. I’m not so worried because he has quality, he has character, but I have to say to him, and I did say to him, that he has to improve.

“I and everyone else at the club has total confidence in his quality. It is true he can do better and he knows this because he is critical of himself. I hope there is improvement in the next games.”

This sounds like the sort of public backing that happens before you’re sacked. Pickford should be very concerned about this, particularly if he has kept tabs on Hart’s fate. If Everton were to get rid of him, I struggle to see any side in the top two-thirds of the Premier League wanting to sign him. And with Nick Pope and Dean Henderson waiting in the wings, he might be saying goodbye to his England starting place as well – I would take either Pope or Henderson over Pickford. The only thing Pickford has going for him over those two is his distribution.

Based purely on international form, Southgate has no reason to discard Pickford, whereas Joe Hart did have poor games for club and country when he lost his form. At least Pickford has always been solid for England, and he might be solid again for Everton after this nudge from Carlo’s hand-stitched loafers. But in truth, he hasn’t been solid at club level for quite a long time now. The majority of Everton fans want rid. The Hart trapdoor is open.