Everton’s goalkeeper kicks off our 2017/18 player review series. Jordan Pickford is in line to be England’s number one at this summers World cup finals in Russia, the reward for his consistent club form.
A signing made by Ronald Koeman last summer, Jordan Pickford arrived with a lot of promise from his showing to that point in his young career. Arguably, out of the mass signing spree last summer, Pickford would be many fans choice for the ‘best of the bunch’ after his consistency so far at Everton.
Consistency and ability aren’t the only traits that Evertonians have been used to seeing in Pickford’s debut season at the club. The young goalkeeper wears his heart on his sleeve with almost everything he does and brings a degree of pride and work ethic that Everton have missed in recent seasons.
Overall season rating: 8/10
An uninspiring season both on the whole, but mainly from a defensive point of view has allowed Jordan Pickford a platform, made once too often albeit, to display his last ditched authority and class. We recall including the term “It could have been more” or similar in a lot of our articles this season when it’s come to highlighting Pickford’s performances.
The notable performances we recall, that stand out still after the ups and downs of the season, were the likes of Arsenal at home right at the start of the season. A result of 5-2 in favour of the visitors, spelled the end of Ronald Koeman’s reign as manager, but it also signalled the birth of Pickford’s desire to not roll over and die. The game itself could and probably should have been significantly more in Arsenal’s favour, but with the English goalkeepers last ditched saves on the back of close range shots from Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alexander Lacazette the goals against column didn’t exceed the 5 that did make it past Everton’s shot stopper.
Man of the match performances also came out of similar defeats, for Jordan Pickford. Tottenham (H), Lyon (A) and more recently Manchester. City (H) were all heavy defeats for Everton, but games that Pickford somehow managed to excel in. It might seem strange for a goalkeeper that has conceded say 3+ goals in a game to be that teams man of the match, but this season it has been more than possible and made possible thanks to Pickford’s constant readiness to stand up when it matters. It might be a trait that Pickford developed in his last season at Sunderland, going into almost all of their matches knowing it would be impossible to keep a clean sheet and to concentrate on bettering his own performances rather than worrying about the scoreline; it’s a good way to be when you’re apart of a defence that has been as volatile as Everton’s has this season.
Areas to improve
Overall Pickford has provided enough quality over the course of the season to help our team through some difficult moments. However, his young years occasionally brings some naive and rushed decision making, something which will almost certainly improve over time. There are moments in a game when a team need a few moments to rest or reset when the goalkeeper has the ball in his hands. This hasn’t always been acknowledged by Pickford who has sometimes opted for a rash kick up field after collecting a ball from a cross. Those occasions have been few and far between but the frustration from his team mates, when he decides to hoof it up to our only man up the other end of the pitch, gives a fair understanding for the need to compose and think before giving away possession.
Generally, Jordan Pickford has shown the right intentions and some great signs of his reading of the game with his distribution. However, it has become a small issue that a goof percentage of his kicks out of his hands don’t find their target. We of course have seen some that meet their target perfectly, but to be super critical it’s certainly something he needs to be 100% with to help him reach a complete level. Jordan likes to use the side kick technique when distributing the ball out of his hands, this allows for a more accurate kick, but can also lead to problems with over kicking the ball because of the uncontrollable nature the ball ends up at before contact with the goalkeepers boot. It is a technique that almost all of the keepers employ in the modern game, but it does take a significant amount of time to master both its direction, distance and power.
Successful saves: 122
Successful goal kicks (floor): 325
Penalty saves: 1
Goals conceded: 56
Passes per match: 30.56
Claims from crosses: 18
It was no surprise that Pickford has provided the goods for Everton this season, after all Everton beat Manchester City, Arsenal and West Ham, amongst other European clubs, to the goalkeepers signature in the summer.
The England international seems to find his motivation from a hunger to continuously improve himself and strive to better the performance he displayed in the game previous. It’s that fact alone that allows Pickford to stand out amongst the rest of this current Everton squad, in a season where the pride of each players displays has been called into question. Confidence has poured from Pickford all season, in the most challenging of moments, he has remained resilient and kept his own game intact.
It’s a challenging proposition tobe earmarked as the player of the year, when your side has been so heavily deprived of positive displays throughout the season, but Jordan must count himself in the top 3 for this seasons awardwith his brilliant reaction saves, his reading of the game and a desire to win and improve as is expected from every player that pulls on the Everton shirt.