Everton: English newspapers react to Jordan Pickford's performance in draw with North Macedonia
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford played the full 90 minutes as England drew 1-1 with North Macedonia in their final Euro 2024 qualifier on Monday 20 November.
The Three Lions fell behind just before half-time as Enis Bardhi beat Pickford after the Toffees’ number one had saved his initial penalty, only for a Jani Atanasov own goal to ensure Gareth Southgate’s side ended 2023 with a point.
Pickford became the first England keeper to save a penalty in regular time for a decade with his first-half stop and despite the disappointing result, most of the national English press have been keen to praise the 29-year-old’s performance.
The Telegraph gave the Everton star a 6/10, admitting that Pickford’s initial penalty save was “excellent” and the keeper had “no chance” of stopping Bardhi’s follow-up effort and also praised his attempts to pass long to Ollie Watkins and move England up the field.
Similarly, The Daily Express were stunned by the 29-year-old’s “great” initial penalty save and were impressed by his long passing, but admitted that the Toffees stopper spent much of the game as a “spectator” grading his performance a 7/10.
The Evening Standard also gave Pickford a 7/10, believing that the keeper was “unfortunate” to see his penalty parry fall straight at the feet of Bardhi after an “excellent” save from the spot kick.
Unlike the other outlets, the Daily Mail focused on Pickford’s work with the ball at his feet, suggesting that his biggest asset to the England side is his distribution, “which will ensure he remains number one at the Euros”, marking his display as a 6.5/10.
It has always been the case with Pickford that he has a knack for standing up and performing in the most high-pressure situations when his team need him, whether that be for England, Everton or even Sunderland throughout his career.
Monday night’s game was nothing short of a glorified friendly, given the fact the Three Lions had already qualified for next summer’s tournament in Germany, but a point helped them secure the top seed in their qualification group at least.
The save to deny Bardhi from the spot was excellent and while the keeper will be frustrated that he didn’t push it around the post it further away from the goalscorer, there was very little more he could have done to prevent the opener.
It was by no means a busy evening for the Everton number one, as he only had two saves to make in the contest and was more often than not a spectator. But another good display should see him return to Goodison Park full of confidence ahead of a testing period.
In other Everton news, Simon Jordan has called for the Toffees to move on and not appeal their point deduction