Chris Sutton: Everton ace Jordan Pickford should be England penalty taker in shoot-out
Chris Sutton believes Jordan Pickford should be England’s fifth penalty-taker with the Everton keeper having previous experience taking a penalty for his country.
The 28-year-old took a spot kick for Gareth Southgate’s side in their UEFA Nations League third-place playoff victory against Switzerland in 2019.
Sutton has suggested that if Pickford “fancies it” then he should be in contention should the Three Lions encounter a shootout in their World Cup knockout campaign.
“Harry Kane first, like he was at Euro 2020 and the 2018 World Cup. Shall I shock you? I wouldn’t say no to Jordan Pickford taking the fifth, like he did against Switzerland in 2019,” said Sutton (Daily Mail, 2 Dec, page 83).
“Keepers are brilliant penalty takers. If Pickford fancies it and has been burying them in training, let him have it!”
It’s actually not a bad shout from Sutton, with the Everton goalkeeper certainly being a clean striker of the ball. Furthermore, Pickford is comfortable in pressure situations, with the 28-year-old previously being involved in shootouts. If he can keep he can keep his composure and his technique, a strike from Pickford will be hard to stop for an opposition goalkeeper.
If England want to win the World Cup, there’s a strong chance they will encounter a penalty shootout on the way. Let’s hope for their previous luck when it comes to spot kicks changes in Qatar. Although they lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties, the experience would have done wonders for the likes of Pickford and Bukayo Saka, who missed the decisive penalty.
The Everton goalkeeper has been in good form so far at the World Cup, having translated his positive Premier League campaign onto the international stage. When the tournament concludes, Evertonians will be desperate for the club to get Pickford tied down to a new deal, with talks currently ongoing.