David Seaman has given his backing to under-fire Jordan Pickford and believes the Everton goalkeeper should remain as England’s number one.
Pickford’s position as England’s first-choice goalkeeper has been questioned this season following a series of high-profile mistakes at club level, with the 26-year-old having hit out earlier this year at the added scrutiny faced by Three Lions’ players as the pressure began to mount on his performances earlier this season.
Despite his struggles this season, however, former England and Arsenal goalkeeper Seaman has backed Pickford to continue as the nation’s number one but says the goalkeeper will have to get used to the added pressure that comes with the role.
“Jordan is No.1, no doubt. He’s made a couple of mistakes but, as a goalkeeper, you do that and it’s how you react afterwards is what’s important. That’s what tells you how good they are going to be,” Seaman said, as per The Mirror.
“Jordan always rebounds in a positive manner and he’s a confident lad anyway but you don’t dismiss World Cup experience, the Nations League and the qualifiers.
“You can’t throw that away at the first sign of trouble. You want a goalkeeper that’s steady and calm. You want a keeper that’s capable of making big saves and he’s still doing that.
“He is being pushed now and it will be interesting but, for me, he’s the No.1. As England’s No.1, you get scrutinised whether it’s your fault or not.
“I’ve been there and done it! He will get used to it. It’s a different way of life. He’s still young and learning.
“I was 26 and made my debut and it wasn’t until later on when I became No.1. So I had a lot of experience to fall back on but Jordan’s still learning.
“Being the No.1, that’s what you will always get. Paul Robinson phoned me up once after the goal that bobbled over his foot. He went: ‘I can’t believe the amount of stick I’m getting.’”
The number one position has come under increased scrutiny with the likes of Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson and Burnley’s Nick Pope competing for a place in Gareth Southgate’s side, but Seaman has backed the manager’s handling of the situation by reassuring Pickford he remains ahead of the competition.
“Gareth’s thoughts would be exactly the same as Terry Venables’ when he came to me and said: ‘Right, you’re my No1 and that’s it.’ That really settled me down,” Seaman added.
“The goal against Man United, when it went under his arms, he will be disappointed with that goal and you could tell by his reaction that he will be disappointed but even then – and de Gea had a shocker – both keepers made potentially match-winning saves.
"Gareth Southgate is watching, you're not impressing him."
Jordan Pickford cannot keep out a long-range strike from Bruno Fernandes…
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 1, 2020
“That’s what I mean about how you react after you’ve made a mistake. They reacted positively. The good ones react positively.
“It wasn’t really a mistake, it was just bad luck but he was England’s No1 and the focus with every goal you let in gets scrutinised and even more so now with more angles, more cameras watching.
“But, for me, he’s still there. Pope, Henderson, Butland is injured, they’re getting closer. But Jordan is still No1.
“Henderson is pushing really well. I heard people talking about Man United bringing him back in place of de Gea and I was thinking: ‘Really?’
“Henderson does look very good. You need that competition but for a keeper you need to do it for a few seasons. It’s alright having a good season and then not backing it up. That’s where it changes.”