Troy Deeney feels ‘more safe’ with Nick Pope in goal over Jordan Pickford for England as Sean Dyche lauds Burnley keeper’s shot-stopping ability March 29, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Troy Deeney believes Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope should retain England’s number one shirt over Jordan Pickford as he is a safer pair of hands than his Everton counterpart.
Pickford, 27, is currently sidelined with a muscle injury, and in his absence, Pope has started back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Albania.
As expected, the Three Lions have breezed to victories in both of those matches, with Pope hardly called upon in either contest.
The 28-year-old has also managed to secure an impressive solo accolade of being the first goalkeeper in England history to keep clean sheets in all six of his first six senior caps.
And there is no doubt in Deeney’s mind who Gareth Southgate’s no.1 should be heading into this summer’s European Championship.
“I know Pickford technically is the number one, but I feel more safe with Pope in goal,” the Watford striker told talkSPORT Breakfast.
“I think when you play with Pickford, or you watch Pickford, you’re always thinking, ‘Is that mistake coming?’.
“I know that’s really harsh because every goalkeeper that makes a mistake will always get highlighted, but I just think when Pope plays – especially when he plays for Burnley – I don’t ever feel like he’s going to make a mistake.
“He’s solid, he’s reliable, and that’s what you want from your goalkeeper, isn’t it?”
And Pope’s club boss boss Sean Dyche has hinted that his goalkeeper should be given the nod to be England’s no.1 at the rescheduled Euro 2020 this summer.
Speaking on the same show, Dyche said: “I think he’s developed tremendously over the past few years. We got him out of Charlton as a ‘keeper who’d been relegated actually – the same with Tom Heaton coming out of Bristol City back in the day – and I was never scared by people like that.
“He’s learned a lot from those experiences, especially as a ‘keeper, and he kept going, kept playing hard, and tried to do the right things, as did Tom.
“When he (Pope) came in, he got his head down, he learned wisely, he’s improved no end.
“I think his biggest quality is he stands up – he’s a big, big fella and he stands up for so long, making it difficult for centre forwards.
“You see him in training, when he works. He’s got that big frame, but he’s really sharp to move. His general goalkeeping is very good, there’s still improvements that he can make, but he’s a very good goalkeeper in my opinion.”
And while Dyche acknowledges there are improvements for Pope to make from a technical standpoint, he says the importance of his shot-stopping far outweighs the weaknesses.
“The origins of goalkeeping have never been far away,” Dyche added.
“Brian Clough, who was famous for what would now be known as ‘playing the right way’ used to say: ‘the goalkeeper’s first job is to stop the ball going in the net’, so Pope is pretty good at that bit.
“I think Pickford is very good with his feet, and some ‘keepers are… it’s very rare you get a ‘keeper who has everything.
“Pope is a massive fella physically, he’s got great instinct to keep the ball out of the net. Can he improve with his feet?
“I’m sure he can… but to have the lot, to have everything in your locker when you’re a ‘keeper – or in any position for that matter – is unlikely.
“Can he improve that? Yes he can. Will he? Definitely, in my opinion, because he can strike a ball, and make adjustments to the style he’s needed to play. But he’ll not lose sight of the fact that his main job is to keep the ball from going in the net.”