Everton and England are sending very mixed signals over Jordan Pickford. They appear to disagree on how to handle the goalkeeper.
Gareth Southgate doesn’t believe anyone is ‘challenging seriously’ for the England goalkeeping position. Instead, it appears Everton keeper Jordan Pickford has the England role completely locked down.
This seems very at odds with how Everton are handling the player, however. Robin Olsen actually stepped in for the Toffees when they faced Newcastle United, relegating Pickford to the bench.
Carlo Ancelotti sent a message with that – you’re not undroppable and the standards are high. England, though, tell him exactly the opposite – your position is safe and no one is really threatening.
It’ll be interesting to see how Pickford reacts to it all, then. He hasn’t been in great form for Everton, in particular, making mistakes and looking erratic at times.
That’s clearly what prompted Ancelotti to drop the player. He wanted a reaction, making no secret that it wasn’t a long-term decision to drop Pickford.
But will that get across properly if Pickford is literally told he doesn’t have to worry about his England place? It’s a very mixed message and one Everton may not be too happy with as they try to get their no.1 back to his best.
Ancelotti has made it clear that he doesn’t want Pickford to be too comfortable. Southgate, though, wants him as comfortable as possible. Someone, surely, has got this one wrong when it comes to dealing with the £25m man.
Everton will just have to hope that their message gets across and Pickford can improve against Manchester United on Saturday.