'He will bounce back' - Kevin Phillips defends under fire Everton first teamer
Kevin Phillips has backed Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to “bounce back” after his latest error for the Toffees.
The 25-year-old was beaten by a long-range effort from Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes during a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, prompting criticism from Roy Keane for his perceived lack of ability.
But Phillips, who used to play for Pickford’s ex-club Sunderland, believes that the England number one deserves to keep his place for both club and country.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “I like Jordan. I think he has got a great mentality and is a great character – he will bounce back.
“Jordan is in a position where he makes one mistake and he gets scrutinised because he is England’s number one. There is always going to be criticism. He has to eradicate the mistakes but he knows that and there will be no one more critical of himself than him.
“He still has my backing. He has got the right mentality and for me, that is one of the reasons I would stick for him in the summer because he has been to a major tournament and he knows what it is all about.”
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Should Pickford retain his place as England number one?
Realistically, that question boils down to whether or not he should be dropped for Sheffield United loanee Dean Henderson.
The Everton keeper has endured some tough moments in recent times, with his error against United being the latest, but there’s no denying that on his day, he is still one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League.
Moreover, for all of the criticism he faces, he isn’t exactly shipping goals.
His expected goals conceded this term stands at 1.23 per game, but his actual goals conceded is just 1.2, as per Wyscout.
Admittedly, Henderson’s number in that area are better with an xCG of 0.97, and an actual figure of 0.83, but that doesn’t mean that Pickford’s is bad by any means.
Plus, when it comes down to it, Pickford has one valuable commodity that Henderson does not – experience.
Will Gareth Southgate go into a tournament that he will believe he can win with a goalkeeper who has just a couple of friendly appearances to his name?
Probably not, and that should ensure that Pickford keeps his spot, for the time being at least.
In other Everton news, ‘Unbelievable’ – Michael Brown defends Toffees ace who sets ‘mega standards’ after blunder v Man United.