When Jordan Pickford broke into Sunderland’s senior side under Sam Allardyce back in 2016, little did we know just how short his time as part of our squad would be.
Our stand-out performer in a catastrophic season under David Moyes, the Washington-born England international moved to Everton for a record fee of £30 million after a mere 31 appearances, departing with the well-wishes of the Sunderland supporters firmly in tow.
Eight months down the line and Everton’s season has really not gone as planned. Having spent an absolute fortune in the summer, a disastrous start saw them slip into the relegation spots and resulted in the termination of Ronald Koeman’s contract.
In stepped Jordan’s former manager at Sunderland, Sam Allardyce, but despite a promising start things haven’t gone particularly well and the Toffees sit just seven points above the relegation zone.
That said, I’m sure that the majority of us would like to see Jordan go on to do well, and many will have kept one eye on proceedings at Goodison Park in order to keep track on how the England international stopper is doing.
And, low and behold, it would appear that he’s doing fairly well, with his consistent performances placing him - according to Adam Partington of Fansite ‘Grand Old Team’ - well ahead of the rest of Everton’s other summer recruits.
“In terms of consistency, Pickford has validated his price tag”, said the Grand Old Team TV host, who thinks that the Washy-born England International has been head and shoulders above their other big money signings too;
When you look at the other lads Everton have bought in and how they’ve performed, he’s head and shoulders above the rest.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Evertonians have been impressed by Pickford’s distribution, which seems to just be above and beyond any other goalkeeper in the Premier League;
At times, it’s almost like he’s been our best attacking outlet. He possesses this brilliant ability to get you from A to B perfectly and start attacks from a back-pass. This has been such an effective weapon for Everton and we’ve needed it to relive pressure. It’s not Jordan’s fault that it just normally ends up coming straight back!
He only had six months with Ronald Koeman, but it wasn’t long before he linked up with the man who gave him his Premier League debut at Sunderland, Sam Allardyce. Adam maintains that Jordan’s performances have been consistent throughout, with Everton’s frankly average season and change in manager not effecting him. “I don’t think Sam Allardyce is asking him to do anything different”, he said when asked if he’d noticed any change in form since Big Sam had taken the reigns.
It’s that consistency that cements belief on both Wearside and Merseyside that he should be England’s number one goalkeeper going into the World Cup in the summer, with Joe Hart’s drop in form and Stoke’s Jack Butland failing to live up to his lofty expectations. When asked if he’d go with Pickford as the number one, Adam was quick to agree - and with good reason;
Absolutely. I know a lot of Stoke fans and we’ve been talking about Butland and Pickford recently and from what they’ve said, Butland isn’t the keeper he was before that serious injury.
Despite the praise Pickford has received, the season hasn’t gone 100% to plan for him, although it hasn’t clouded the judgement of the Everton supporters, who know just what a good goalie they have on their hands;
He’s made a few mistakes, but the biggest was against the Reds in the cup. With ‘keepers you have to look the bigger picture because they’re going to make mistakes. It’s a cliché but when a keeper spills it you’re in trouble because he’s the last form of defence and there’s nobody to mop up. He’s not the first Evertonian to have a bad one at Anfield and he won’t be the last.
It’s been a tough time this year for the Toffees, with lofty early season expectations falling well short and uncertainty on the new manager Sam Allardyce, but one thing they aren’t split on is our Jordan;
Evertonians are really divided and toxic at the moment. We’re collectively fatigued. But one thing we all agree on is how fantastic Jordan Pickford has been.
Some Sunderland fans reading would love to be in Everton’s position, but Adam is quick to apologise and knows it could be far worse, as he said;
I realise I can’t moan too much to you Sunderland fans because you’re having a far worse time than we are. I hope you’re sold to decent owners soon and you can get back into the league because it needs clubs like Sunderland.
Perhaps the best education Pickford could have been given at the top level has been playing as part of struggling sides. His character, professionalism and leadership has always shone through, and it’ll be those characteristics that will see him eventually become the regular between the sticks for the England national team.
Talents as rare as Pickford come along only once in a generation, and whilst we’d rather be celebrating him as part of our own team, Pickford’s career from here on out will be something that Sunderland supporters will follow closely until the day he retires.
Who knows - he might just end up back here one day.