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'Pickford is still England's first choice' - Everton keeper backed despite poor form

21:52 EAT 11/03/2019
Jordan Pickford England 2018
The former Three Lions international has backed the Toffees shot-stopper to maintain his place in Gareth Southgate's team in spite of recent errors

Paul Robinson believes Jordan Pickford is still Gareth Southgate’s number one keeper, despite acknowledging his drop-off in performance.

The former Leeds, Spurs, Blackburn and Burnley goalie, who himself won 41 caps for England, argued Pickford’s case, despite the Everton keepers’ error on Sunday against Newcastle when he might have been sent off for a foul on Salomon Rondon.

Pickford did save the penalty he gave away with that foul, however.

Robinson, meanwhile, believes that Pickford is under scrutiny for the first time in his career and is not at the top of his game.

“Yes, he is [England’s No.1], definitely,” Robinson told Sky Sports News.

“I don’t think he’s playing the best that he’s ever played, clearly I don’t think he’s at the top of his game because he’s set himself such a high bar.

“I think he made an error in the Merseyside derby in November, and I think that impacted him a little bit. It was the first time he’d made a high-profile error, where people have actually started scrutinising him and are now watching him.”

Robinson went on to highlight the role confidence plays for a goalkeeper before stating that he believes Pickford has enough credit in the bank to continue between the posts for Gareth Southgate’s men.

“A goalkeeper is all about confidence. When you make a mistake, or you have criticism levelled at you, you’ve got to be very strong.

“Little things, like someone saying something when you go behind the goal to pick up the ball, it makes you question yourself.

“I genuinely think he’s England’s No.1 goalkeeper at the moment. Is he the best in the Premier League? There are probably a few goalkeepers in better form than him at the moment. But is he England’s No.1 for the next internationals? Absolutely, yes he is. He’s earned that right.”

Gareth Southgate’s squad for England’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro will be announced on Wednesday, with the games being played on March 22 and 25.

Robinson clearly believes Pickford has done enough to merit inclusion in the team for those games, while the former Sunderland man will be hoping to regain top form by then.