Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville wasn’t shy in stating that Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford left him a little uneasy when he was between the sticks for England and he thought the 24-year-old’s inclusion for the World Cup finals out in Russia was a massive gamble by manager Gareth Southgate.
A pundit has to have opinions though and sometimes the more controversial the better it is for them as fans react to their words, but fair’s fair, Neville is now on record as saying that the former Sunderland man was beginning to win him over with his performances at international level, and his continued development at Goodison Park.
Speaking on Sunday during Sky’s live coverage of the England v Croatia game (18/11 – 1pm) Neville amended his opinion to explain.
“I thought he was a risk before the World Cup, it was one of the points I was most nervous about. International football suits him a lot in terms of the way the team play, the fact you do get a little bit more time to play out from the back. I was nervous before the World Cup but he’s winning me over slowly, he’s not my idea of what a keeper would be – I always thought a keeper should be dominant – but there are so many keepers of his ilk and his stature and his ability and the way that they play, you have to change with the times.”
Considered as one of the better pundits out there given his usual offers, whilst I don’t always agree with Neville at least he backs up his opinions so you can see where he’s coming from, and it’s a testament to Pickford’s own performances that he’s now winning him over and a credit that rather than dogmatically sticking to his opinion, that he’s open to changing it.
It means little in reality as it’s just press talk, but it does show our stopper is continuing to impress outside of the fanbase and that can only be a good thing for the club.