Daily Mail

Pope could oust Pick­ford for Na­tions League

- By SAMI MOK­BEL Chief Football Re­porter Sports · Soccer · FIFA World Cup · England national football team · England · Everton F.C. · Everton · Gareth Southgate · Burnley F.C. · Carlo Ancelotti · Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. · Iceland · Denmark national football team · Denmark · Russia · Russia national football team · Manchester United F.C. · Manchester · Dean Henderson · Aaron Ramsdale · Nick Pope · Tom Heaton

JOR­DAN PICK­FORD’S sta­tus as Eng­land’s first-choice goal­keeper is in doubt head­ing into the in­ter­na­tional restart. The Ever­ton No 1, a fix­ture in Gareth South­gate’s plans since the 2018 World Cup, is fac­ing a bat­tle to keep the gloves with Burn­ley’s Nick Pope (right) be­lieved to be ap­ply­ing sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure for the spot. The 26-year-old has suf­fered an alarm­ing dip in form in re­cent months, with a num­ber of high-pro­file er­rors cost­ing Ever­ton goals to­wards the end of last sea­son.

Ever­ton man­ager Carlo Ancelotti warned Pick­ford pub­licly that his per­for­mances must im­prove after his dis­play in a 3-0 de­feat at Wolves in July. It is a slump in per­for­mance that has not gone un­no­ticed by South­gate and his back­room team who, sources claim, are con­cerned. As a re­sult, Sports­mail un­der­stands the Eng­land man­ager is con­sid­er­ing giv­ing Pope — who kept 15 Premier

League clean sheets for Burn­ley last sea­son — a game in at least one of the forth­com­ing Na­tions League fix­tures against Ice­land on Satur­day and Den­mark next Tues­day, the na­tional team’s first matches in 11 months fol­low­ing the Covid-19 lock­down. No fi­nal de­ci­sion on team selection has been made as South­gate ex­am­ines his play­ers in train­ing this week. But Pick­ford — one of Eng­land’s heroes at the World Cup in Rus­sia two years ago — is now in a gen­uine bat­tle with Pope, 28, and Manch­ester United keeper

Dean Hen­der­son, 23, for the No 1 shirt head­ing into next sum­mer’s de­layed Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. On the goal­keeper sit­u­a­tion, South­gate said last week: ‘We have three de­cent goal­keep­ers, I think they are the best three in the coun­try at the mo­ment. I think Aaron Rams­dale comes into that list but bet­ter for him to play football with our Un­der 21s. There’s ob­vi­ously Tom Heaton com­ing back from in­jury but th­ese three are young enough to fight out a chal­lenge. ‘In ev­ery po­si­tion on the field we’ve got to have that com­pe­ti­tion. It’s 10 months since we played. ‘But I’ve also got to bear in mind that Jor­dan has had ex­cel­lent per­for­mances for us with Eng­land and he has never let us down.’

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK