'Struggle': Pundit says £30m Everton ace 'better on the ball' than Newcastle summer signing
Stewart Robson says Everton’s Jordan Pickford is better on the ball than Newcastle United’s Nick Pope and that’s why Gareth Southgate selects him for England.
The former Arsenal midfielder did admit that when it comes to pure goalkeeping, then Nick Pope is ahead of Jordan Pickford, but the Newcastle star’s ‘gangly’ nature on the ball and lack of left foot, then puts him on the back foot.
Ever since the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Pickford has always been the one to don the gloves for the Three Lions, regardless of who is around him and pushing him.
During that time, the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope have been relegated, as well as many other keepers passing by, including the returning Fraser Forster and Manchester United-owned, Dean Henderson.
But, given where Pope and Ramsdale are with their respective clubs now, including the possibility that Eddie Howe’s side could make a return to the Champions League and the Gunners could win the Premier League title.
Then this is the biggest challenge Pickford has faced for his starting space under Southgate’s stewardship, but will anything change with Euro 2024 around the corner?
Either way, Robson picked between Everton’s £30 million man (Sky Sports) and Newcastle’s summer capture, as he told ESPN.
“In terms of goalkeeping, I suppose that’s the main thing you talk about, then I would say Nick Pope,” said Robson. “If you are talking about ability with the ball at his feet, you would probably go for Pickford.
“I think that’s why Gareth Southgate goes to Pickford because he wants somebody that’s more comfortable on the ball.
“I have seen Nick Pope for Newcastle. He looks a bit gangly. He doesn’t look like he has a left foot. If he played on his left foot, then he would struggle, somewhat.
“But as a goalkeeper, then I would say Nick Pope.”
SHOULD ENGLAND BACK-UP KEEPERS EARN MORE STARTS?
Whilst Pickford hasn’t let England down, in terms of performances, it still frustrates fans that Ramsdale and Pope don’t earn enough minutes.
Pope can’t get that now because he has returned to St James’ Park with an injury, but wouldn’t it be wise to test Ramsdale out, whilst he’s in top form for Arsenal, against Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday?
If that doesn’t happen, then, when it comes to major tournaments, other than club form, the other two don’t have much to push Pickford on because they’re not handed enough starts on the international stage.
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