Jordan Pickford: the Englishman outshining his heralded counterparts

Jordan Pickford has been excellent in goal for England at the World Cup in Russia.

Jordan Pickford was impressive once again, in the 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarterfinals.   -  AFP

A World Cup in which goalkeepers with greater experience and pedigree have fluffed their lines, Jordan Pickford has emerged as one of the safe hands. His shot-stopping has shone, in particular, while his crucial  penalty save in the shootout against Colombia helped England progress to the quarterfinals.

Only two seasons ago, he played for a Sunderland team that was consistently battling relegation and eventually got relegated at the end of the 2016-17 season. As the goalkeeper of a relegation-threatened team, Pickford stood out with his reflex saves, while he was impressive with his distribution too. In the 2016-17 season, Pickford made the second-most saves in the Premier League (135), behind Burnley's Tom Heaton (141).

His performances earned him a big-money move to Everton, which signed him for £30m. He became the third-most-expensive goalkeeper of all time and, justifying his price tag, went on to have a good season for the Toffees, which achieved a top-half finish under Sam Allardyce.

Pickford earned his first England cap in November last year, making his debut in a friendly against Germany. Gareth Southgate, who handed Pickford his England debut, picked him in the final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Russia, ahead of the seasoned Joe Hart.

And in Russia, Pickford has been up to the mark whenever he has been called into action. He has made a number of crucial saves for the Three Lions, with the penalty save (sticking out his left hand mid-air and palming the ball away) against Colombia proving the most important.

He was called into action on a handful of occasions against Sweden and Pickford was on the money at the Samara Arena, helping himself to his first clean sheet at the tournament.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :