By Peter Lynch

30th Mar, 2023 | 3:40pm

Everton coach shares ‘transformation’ verdict on Jordan Pickford at Finch Farm, always under ‘scrutiny’

Jordan Pickford has undergone a superb “transformation” during his time at Everton, and is constantly under “scrutiny,” the club’s goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly told the Liverpool Echo.

Pickford has established himself as Everton’s undisputed number one in recent years, as well as landing a regular starting spot for England.

And his coach Kelly has been blown away by Pickford’s progression over the years, both for club and country.

“I’ve never known anyone deal with as much scrutiny as he does,” Kelly told the Liverpool Echo. “Over the five years I’ve worked with him, he’s got all of his England caps while with Everton and I’ve seen a transformation from a younger goalkeeper coming into a big club and making his mark, bonding with the fans to England’s number one.

“I’ve seen those stages with him, establishing himself as first choice with Everton and then England and when you’re at the top, the hard work with the training and the preparation has to be of the highest level because when you get to the top, everyone is trying to knock you off that pedestal so it becomes even harder when you acquire that status. 

“I think the way Jordan deals with that and the way in which he operates within our group is fantastic.”

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Rising above

Joining the Toffees from Sunderland in 2017, Pickford has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top, one that not many people might have predicted.

Six years later, the goalkeeper has over 50 caps for his nation, and remains the number one choice for Gareth Southgate, although Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale and Newcastle’s Nick Pope are providing plenty of competition.

The scrutiny Pickford has faced comes as no surprise, given his profile and current club, along with his often enigmatic actions on the pitch.

He has made mistakes during his Everton career, but all goalkeepers are capable of letting their concentration slip from time to time.

Despite the criticism, the Everton goalkeeper reportedly continues to attract attention, with both Manchester United and Tottenham heavily involved in any rumours about a potential transfer.

A man who clearly knows Pickford very well is his goalkeeping coach Kelly, with the latter perhaps one of the only people who knows what the former’s future holds.