How does Jordan Pickford compare with Nick Pope and Dean Henderson

EXPERT VIEW: Is Jordan Pickford still England’s No 1? Everton stopper’s place in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI is under threat due to a lack of reliability… so, how does he compare to Dean Henderson and Nick Pope?

  • England goalkeepers have had a tendency to crack under pressure of late 
  • Jordan Pickford has flattered to deceive, with his reliability in question 
  • The Everton stopper’s place in the starting XI is at risk ahead of EURO 2020
  • So, how does Pickford compare with Dean Henderson and Nick Pope? 

If there is one criticism that can be levelled at England’s goalkeepers, when compared with the elite of the game, it’s been their tendency to crack under pressure.

The very best remain unflappable when it matters and, whatever the strengths of the likes of Buffon, Neuer and Oblak, what is a constant is their reliability.

But think of England’s keepers, from David James to Jordan Pickford today, and question marks have hung over their temperament for the big game. Pickford’s predecessor, Joe Hart, suffered from this perception and Jordan himself has come under similar scrutiny.

Pickford has competition for his shirt now in the form of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson. But how do they compare and who is the best pick as Gareth Southgate’s No 1 for the Nations League and the Euros?

Gareth Southgate may have a selection dilemma with uncertainty surrounding his goalkeeper 

JORDAN PICKFORD

Character

As Pickford rose through the ranks, he seemed unfazed by the new challenges and embraced the pressure of expectation. Then, something changed.

Post-Russia 2018, the boyish enthusiasm and boundless energy are now contributing to erratic displays which are a cause for concern.

Shot-stopping

This is where Pickford is trailing Pope and Henderson. Errors have crept into his game and his positioning and decision-making have blotted his record.

The England boss has selected Jordan Pickford but the stopper has had reliability issues

Shot-stopping errors have blighted the Everton stopper, whose distribution has been superb

Crosses 

Here he has remained consistent, claiming more than 10 per cent of all crosses, but he has recently had some unconvincing moments when fisting the ball clear and made poor decisions as a result of his positioning and a lack of anticipation.

Distribution 

The main reason he remains Southgate’s first choice. His retention of the ball is better than that of his rivals, yet his propensity to hold on to the ball and risk being closed down has added to the doubts.

NICK POPE

Character

Opposite end of the spectrum to Pickford. Unassuming in every way, Pope has an air of security, strength and assuredness. His recent error against Newcastle, resulting in a moment of panic, was a rare blemish.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope’s personality, and playing style, has been unassuming 

Shot-stopping 

Solid technique and reliable in dealing with shots, helped by Burnley’s defensive structure. But it is his defending of the space outside his box that puts him alongside Ben Foster and just behind Alisson and Ederson in how often and far away from his goal he performs defensive actions to prevent shots.

Crosses 

Head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Burnley defend more crosses than most teams but when they do, Pope is positive in claiming them, which he showed again on Thursday night for England.

Distribution 

Seen by many as the weakest distributor of the three, only because of the limited range he’s being asked to put on show for his club. Yet against Wales, Pope often dropped the ball on to Dominic Calvert-Lewin or wide to full-backs. Has a great arm and his range of throwing can be a real asset for Southgate’s side. First touch has caused him a problem — it needs to be worked on.

Pope is a great shot stopper and positive in claiming crosses but his distribution is poor

DEAN HENDERSON

Character

The least experienced at Premier League level, but has shown a gritty determination and desire to get where he wants to be. His first test is to wrest the No 1 shirt at Manchester United from David de Gea. Like Pickford, he is aggressively positive in his mentality on and off the pitch but channels it in a way that works for him, keeping a lid on his emotions.

Shot-stopping 

Outperformed his rivals last season in this department. Has been restricted to Carabao Cup games this season but performed strongly against Brighton and Luton Town.

Dean Henderson is the least experienced but impressed at Sheffield United last season

Crosses

Confident and convincing when put under pressure with high balls. Even when faced with a crowded six-yard box, he works his feet and uses his physicality to create space to attack the ball and it’s definitely one area of his game he is superior to De Gea in his fight for the jersey at club level.

Distribution 

Asked to kick long at Sheffield United, yet he is comfortable on the ball. Manipulates the ball well to keep possession but his longer passing is often done with too much height on the ball, giving defenders the chance to win it.

Overall verdict

Pickford’s shirt to lose. Henderson is stuck on United’s bench but it could make sense to pick Pope against Belgium, who may well put England on the back foot.

For now, it’s Pickford’s shirt to lose, but Pope is the closest to displacing him as the No 1




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