Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been deemed the best stopper for England since Gordon Banks by talkSPORT’s Adrian Durham, but his opinion was disputed by fellow pundit Darren Bent.
The Toffees custodian has come under criticism at times over the past few seasons due to the odd mistake, but at the same time the Goodison Park man has also delivered some superb displays for club and country.
Given the form of Dean Henderson at Sheffield United and Nick Pope at Burnley, there has been speculation over who should get the England gloves, but Durham had no qualms about Pickford’s quality.
“(Pickford) is a goalkeeper who has done things that no other England keeper has ever done,” Durham told talkSPORT. “For England, when was the last keeper we had at Jordan Pickford’s level?” I’m going back to Gordon Banks.”
Banks is widely recognised as one of the finest England goalkeepers of all time, having helped the Three Lions to glory at the 1966 World Cup.
While Pickford was superb for Gareth Southgate’s side during the Russia World Cup two years ago, Bent thought Durham delivered a “bold prediction and bold statement” about the £100,000-a-week man.
Bent told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast Show on talkSPORT (18/03/20, 6:45 am): “I personally believe that David Seaman is better than Jordan Pickford. I do like Pickford. But he is going through a tough time.
“Now, with what’s going at the minute (Euro 2020 being moved) and it gets put back that is now one positive for him personally because it gives him time now. To sit back, have a think about it and re-gather his thoughts, he is still a very good goalkeeper and he is still young enough.
“And as Adrian said, he has done some great things in an England shirt. But, right now, especially the last few seasons, he hasn’t been great. He has made mistakes.
“The reason why there’s been a debate this season is that he’s made some world-class saves, don’t get me wrong, but he has made some real errors. And it doesn’t help that he has Nick Pope and Henderson (snapping at his heels) – both have been exceptional.
“For me, if you were picking a team right now. Would Pickford be number one? I don’t think so, it would be Henderson or Pope. But, as I said, now it’s given him time to get some confidence back.”
Pickford is undoubtedly a great goalkeeper who has proven himself at the highest level, but it can’t be denied that he has made numerous costly errors over the past two years.
Even if Euro 2020 went ahead this summer, Pickford would likely have been the number one choice for Gareth Southgate, though too many questions remain from some fans and pundits regarding whether he’d have been the best option.
As it is, the tournament will take place next year, and once football resumes, it’ll give the 26-year-old the opportunity to keep at bay those who are challenging for his Three Lions gloves.