Even if they deny it every time they are asked the question, every football manager in the world has their favorites.
From the coach of an Under-9 team continually playing his talentless son as a center-forward, to England coach Gareth Southgate who persists with the sometimes comedic Jordan Pickford, it is simply impossible. to escape the fact that some players are always a shoo-in for a place in the starting XI.
Now the first of these two scenarios is a little irritating but understandable enough, but the latter of the two risks seriously hampering England’s chances of success in international tournaments.
And wouldn’t it be quintessential for England to boast of being one of the most talented players in a major tournament for many years, while being sent off in the quarter-final due to a goalkeeper error? goal?
However, this may not necessarily be the case …
With the delayed Euro 2020 tournament starting in less than three months, England begin their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign against San Marino on Thursday without first-choice goalkeeper Pickford.
The 27-year-old has been left out of upcoming Three Lions clashes after being struck in the Toffees’ recent loss to Burnley, leaving Nick Pope, Dean Henderson and Sam Johnstone to fight for the top spot.
It seems quite likely that West Brom goalkeeper Johnstone was only called in to make up the numbers, meaning either Pope or Henderson will be given the number one shirt for the next few games.
With an unexpected chance to impress the England boss ahead of Euro 2020, both goalkeepers have had a glorious opportunity to claim their England number one status, and we need them to produce the goods. .
It would be unfair to completely ignore Pickford’s recent formative spell for Everton, with the former Sunderland man producing a number of fine performances to help Carlo Ancelotti’s side secure a Champions League spot.
But the simple fact of the matter is that it cannot be trusted.
Time and time again he’s been deemed insufficient on the big stage, with lapses in concentration costing Everton on numerous occasions, and it’s just impossible to believe that you have any real chance of success in a major international tournament with a number one keeper also unreliable.
For England it has to be said that he was quite reliable, but it was only a matter of time before he made a costly mistake on the big stage.
Granted, Pickford is the most technically gifted of the three scorers with the ball at his feet too, but unfortunately his mistakes have become so frequent that he’s far more likely to cost his team a goal than to play a key role in either the establishment of a goal, that is to say the control of the play by his team.
Henderson and Pope have proven to be able to perform consistently at a high level over the past two seasons, and while they may not be able to produce lavish volley clears that make commentators turn green, they’re both a lot more reliable when it comes to completing the goalie basics compared to Pickford.
Although Southgate’s hand was forced to field an alternate goalkeeper due to Pickford’s injury, international bosses often take the opportunity to test different staff shortly before heading to a major tournament, this is therefore not a huge disturbance to the plans of the English boss.
However, the only thing this offers Southgate is the chance to see the Pope and Henderson in competitive action for England instead of just throwing them into a meaningless friendly with Jamaica, with the delay of Euro 2020, which means qualifying for the 2022 World Cup begins even before the Championships. Europe have been disputed.
Therefore, with three competitive matches to go before the end of March, it is not entirely improbable that Henderson or Pope can actually convince Southgate that they are the man for the job as England prepare for the job. the kickoff of Euro 2020 in June.
It might have taken a while, but we might finally have found something good to come out of this coronavirus pandemic, because if England are heading to the European Championship with Pickford as their number one goalkeeper a, you can say goodbye to the Three Lions who have a chance to do so. successful tasting.