Jordan Pickford has personality to brush off critics, says Carlo Ancelotti
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti thinks goalkeeper Jordan Pickford gets the required personality to stave off the current criticism of his performances.
Pickford’s mistake, letting Christian Benteke’s equaliser slide from the win over Crystal Palace, under him set the attention back after a past 18 months.
Gary Neville in September criticised the England goalkeeper for laughing while plenty have been quick to scrutinise Pickford over perceived failings when 3-1 down to Manchester City.
The 25-year-old has obtained the backing of his supervisor before Sunday’s match at Arsenal, live since Everton attempt to keep their push for a European place.
“To be England No 1 is a responsibility I think he warrants,” Ancelotti said. “In my opinion he is the best English goalkeeper.
“I am not so afraid concerning the critics. In the match against Palace he did a mistake and he did an excellent rescue. This is the goalkeeper’s duty.
“Occasionally unfortunately you may have a mistake but after that you have to have the personality to proceed fast and he did. I think also for this reason, not only his technical quality, he’s the team’s goalkeeper.
“Nobody is perfect so we must take the mistake of the goalkeeper and also we must accept that Jordan for us is very important.
“He is a whole goalkeeper because now in contemporary soccer you can’t ask the goalkeeper to only save shots, so he must play with the ball.
“He’s among the players who plays most with the ball he has to be a complete player.”
Ancelotti did, however, include a smile:”If I have to pick a goalkeeper with great feet or good hands, I favor a goalkeeper with great hands”
Assuming England manager Gareth Southgate shares Ancelotti’s opinion of Pickford, the former Sunderland goalkeeper may be combined in Euro 2020 from team-mate Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Injuries to Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane have enhanced Calvert-Lewin’s likelihood of a place in the group along with the 22-year-old has scored 13 goals so far this season.
“I don’t need to provide a recommendation to Southgate, he understands his job,” Ancelotti added.
“What I need to give a recommendation would be to Dominic to continue to keep going, to try to enhance. He is currently doing well but he can perform, he understands.
“He and Richarlison did a great job until now, they are really dangerous and this is what we ask of thembe harmful at front (of purpose ).”
Watch Arsenal vs Everton live on Sky Sports Premier League HD from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.