Sam Allardyce has raved about the ability of Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and believes his mental strength separates him from the rest.
The 25-year-old has risen to become England’s number one shot-stopper and chalked his name into history with his performances in the 2018 World Cup.
He’s been a consistent performer at Goodison Park since he joined in 2017, but is perhaps enduring his most difficult season so far.
The shot-stopper has eight clean sheets in 31 games across all competitions this campaign, but a few individual errors have started to creep into his game.
Pickford will have been disappointed when he allowed a Christian Benteke strike to squeeze underneath him at the weekend, but fortunately his side ran out 3-1 victors in the Premier League match against Crystal Palace.
He did also soon after the Palace goal make an eye-catching reflex save from a Benteke header and regained some pride.
Allardyce, who previously worked with Pickford when he managed Everton, still considers him to be a top-class goalkeeper.
“The beauty for him and why he’s such a good goalkeeper and why people play at this level is there mental strength and their ability to make the right decisions quicker than players who play in the Championship or who don’t play for England,” Allardyce told talkSPORT.
“He has got that mental agility and that mental toughness to stay where he is. You must continue at his age to push and get better and better.”
It’s easy to forget that Pickford is only aged 25 and still has plenty of time to improve as a goalkeeper, as most don’t usually peak until around their early 30s.
There are many people that are questioning his role as England’s first-choice going into the summer’s European Championships and Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson has outperformed him at club level this season in the Premier League.
But Pickford is still a talent comfortable in playing out from the back and he has the big-game experience on the international stage required going into a major tournament.