England and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has today spoken out about the struggles of being an England international – telling media “everyone hates you [when you play for England”.
This season, Pickford has had some troubles in the net for Everton and has made a few mistakes – most recently against Crystal Palace at the weekend where Christian Benteke’s effort went underneath the England stopper.
He says the criticism of him, and his fellow England players, is unfair:
“Everyone hates you, for some reason, that’s part of being an England player,” he said. “I think the press and everybody, the punters – look at Gary Neville – they just want to come for England players.
“You have got to live with it, you have got to learn. I know what I am capable of and I know what I am good at.”
Pickford was one of the stars of England’s 2018 World Cup campaign having saved a penalty to help win us the shootout against Colombia. Since then, his relationship with fans and pundits has somewhat suffered – mostly due to his own antics.
There have been multiple incidents, both on-field and off-field with Pickford, that has led pundits to criticise his attitude. Against Newcastle at St James’ Park last year, Pickford was gesturing and winding up the fans during the game having saved a penalty.
In the second half, Newcastle mounted a comeback and won the game, thanks in part to a mistake from Pickford. After the game, Pickford was heavily criticised for letting his emotions get the better of him and his personal allegiances get in the way of winning the game for Everton.
Pickord also spoke about Joe Hart – using the Burnley stopper as an example to illustrate his point.
“Look at Joe Hart when he was number one. He got pelters every week,” added Pickford. “You just keep it away from your head as the only person who can sort things out is yourself as an individual, on the pitch and in training.
“It’s looking after things on the pitch for Everton that is my main aim. That gets you picked for England. It’s funny because everyone raves about you when you are with England but then you get back to your club and everyone wants to slate you.
“As a person, I don’t let it affect me.”
In a way, I do hear what Pickford is saying. Our media do love to hate on the England boys for some reason, constantly dragging their name through the mud.
Look at Raheem Sterling for example, some of the headlines that have hit the media about that guy have been disgraceful – it always seems to happen just before a major tournament too.
However, in this particular case, I think Pickford just needs to stop talking and start performing. He isn’t being criticised because people “hate him”, he’s being criticised because he’s in very poor form, and has been for a while.
Ever since the World Cup, he just seems to have gotten worse and worse. The errors leading to a goal stat says he’s only made two this season, but that doesn’t account for all the occasions wherein he should have done FAR better.
Flapping at crosses, positioning himself poorly, not making saves he should make – he seemingly does at least one of those things every couple of games.
If I’m being honest, unless he sorts himself out pretty soon and finds his form again, I don’t think Pickford should be the England number one at the European Championships this summer. All I can see is him costing us games rather than winning us games at this moment in time.
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