By Daniel Lewis
BBC Sport pundit Rob Green believes Everton are relying on Jordan Pickford “more than ever” this season in their bid to avoid Premier League relegation.
The first-choice England goalkeeper made a stunning double save to help earn Everton a 2-2 draw away at Sheffield United on Saturday [2 September].
Pickford has come to the Toffees’ rescue ample times over the past six years, which Green can see being the case again this season if the opening few weeks are anything to go by.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club [4 September], Green said: “He is a character, we have always said that over the years, but I do feel more than ever this season that, if you look at the spine of Everton’s team and who they have got in and around him, you are going to need Jordan Pickford at the back.
“You need that character. He exudes that confidence and thrives on that pressure.
“I do feel for Everton that he is going to play a huge part in their season and they are going to need him on top form because it is going to be tough as they haven’t got a spine in the team that has his experience.”
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Pickford’s heroics to twice deny Oli McBurnie at the death against Sheffield United was the equivalent of a striker scoring a late winner.
The 29-year-old may have conceded an own goal earlier in the match, but he more than made amends with his six saves at Bramall Lane.
Everton have looked poor defensively at times in the early stages of the campaign, even if more of the focus has been on their lack of goals scored.
With two goals conceded away at Sheffield United and four in the heavy loss to Aston Villa, things are not looking good for Sean Dyche’s men in that respect.
That is despite the best efforts of Pickford, who has made 13 saves in total across Everton’s first four games.
Pickford is among the best shot-stopping keepers in the Premier League, but unless the Toffees’ defence tightens up, that will not count for much as there is only so much he can do.
In other Everton news, a journalist has identified an “alarming” issue with regards to the Toffees’ squad.
By Daniel Lewis