In the latest Everton news, Sam Allardyce believes goalkeeper Jordan Pickford can hold off strong competition to claim the number one jersey for England at the 2018 World Cup.
Pickford started for the Three Lions in their 1-0 win over the Netherlands on Friday, making a number key saves in Amsterdam to protect the clean sheet, and also looked composed with the ball at his feet.
Coach Gareth Southgate turned to Stoke star Jack Butland for Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Italy at Wembley and it remains unclear as to who will be his first choice in Russia this summer.
West Ham loanee Joe Hart has slipped down the pecking order after struggling to earn regular game time this term while Burnley duo Tom Heaton and Nick Pope also look to be trailing behind Pickford and Butland.
The England boss undoubtedly has a tough decision to make ahead of the World Cup, for which England are priced at 16/1 to win with Sky Bet, and he will likely have named his squad prior to the next round of friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica in early June.
Allardyce believes Pickford is ready to take up the responsibility of starting for England at the showpiece event despite his tender years.
“I think so,” Allardyce said. “He has given Gareth a lot to think about with his performance the other night and certainly his performances for us.
“I know people have spoken about the number of goals he’s conceded as a goalkeeper for Everton this season, but that is not really the stat that you look at – you look at the sort of saves that he makes and, of course, he has been extremely busy, far too busy on some occasions.
“He is there when needed and he has always been there when needed. Everybody makes the odd mistake but they are very few and far between for him.”
Meanwhile, Pickford returns to club duty for Everton against Manchester City at Goodison Park on Saturday.