Jordan Pickford ready to star for England at Euro 2020

Spread the love

They are two of the abiding images from England’s run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup in Russia.

In the dying seconds of his side’s second-round game with Colombia, Jordan Pickford hurled himself to his left to claw a swerving, long-range effort from Mateus Uribe around the post.

Then, in the subsequent shoot-out, the Wearsider was at it again, flinging up his arm to deflect Carlos Bacca’s penalty as England finally laid their spot-kick demons to rest.

Pickford left Russia as a national hero, but in the last three years, as tends to be the case with goalkeepers, his fortunes have waxed and waned.

There have been good moments with his club side, Everton, and in an England shirt, but there have also been mistakes, rushes of blood and, of course, the challenge that wrecked Virgil van Dijk’s season.

For a while, it was suggested that Pickford might lose his place for this summer’s Euros.

That notion was put to bed when Nick Pope was ruled out of the squad through injury, but even if Pickford’s Burnley-based rival had been available, Gareth Southgate would not have been changing tack.

“I’ve got to say, Jordan has finished the season really strongly,” said Southgate, as he announced the make-up of his squad earlier this month.

“Since he’s come back from his injury, his focus and calmness in goal have really stood out. I’m really pleased with his form.”

There are two key strands to Southgate’s enduring faith in Pickford.

First, as was evidenced in Russia, the former Sunderland academy product has a habit of making big saves in big games.

Yes, there can be errors along the way, but at crucial moments, Pickford has proved he is capable of rising to the challenge.

In the pressure-cooker environment of a major tournament, an ability to embrace the occasion is a major asset.

Then, there is Pickford’s importance to the way Southgate wants his side to play out from the back.

Even in an era when the majority of top goalkeepers have made massive improvements to their passing range and ability to spot a team-mate in space, Pickford’s prowess with the ball at his feet stands out.

By firing the ball into the path of a midfielder, the 27-year-old is one of the primary architects of England’s counter-attacking threats.

He has been honing that passing on the pitches at St George’s Park this week – and has also been rehearsing saving penalties.

This being England, there is every chance his spot-kick saving abilities will once again be tested over the course of the next four weeks.



Source link

Written by bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

Comments

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Loading…

0