Should Nick Pope be England’s no.1? How the Burnley star compares to Jordan Pickford at Everton and Dean Henderson at Sheffield United
Feb. 14, 2020
Jordan Pickford probably drew more attention to his own mistake than anyone else did with his comments after Everton’s victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The England no.1 called out Gary Neville, among other pundits, for hating on him specifically because he plays for the Three Lions.
“I think the press and everybody; the punters – look at Gary Neville – they just want to come for England players,” he said.
“Everyone gets stick. Some get a lot more praise than others. That’s part of being an England player.
“Everyone hates you, for some reason. I just get on with it. You have got to live with it, you have got to learn. I know what I am capable of and I know what I am good at.”
But rather than silence the doubters, it only raised more questions about his form ahead of this summer’s Euro 2020.
The comments came after his error allowed Christian Benteke to equalise for Palace with a pretty weak effort.
It was the latest in a series of hiccups over the last 18 months, since he starred for England at the 2018 World Cup.
All the while, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and Sheffield United shot-stopper Dean Henderson have been delivering some outstanding performances, giving Gareth Southgate quite the selection headache.
Of course, Southgate looks at more than just saves to decide his first choice goalkeeper.
Pickford is certainly the most gifted footballer available to the England boss, who uses the 25-year-old as a reliable base for his playing-out-from-the-back philosophy.
But based purely on keeping the ball out of the goal, who deserves to start for the Three Lions?
talkSPORT will have a particularly keen eye on Pope this weekend when Burnley travel to Southampton – LIVE on talkSPORT at 12:30.
So we’ve taken a look at where he ranks among his England rivals in terms of stats, provided by FBREF.com …
Jordan Pickford stats (Premier League 19/20) Matches: 26 Shots on target faced: 98 Goals against: 38 Percentage of shots saved: 61% Goals against per game: 1.46 Clean sheets: 6
Pickford’s form has taken an alarming dip this season. In fact, his save percentage is the worst it’s been since the 2013/14 season, when he was with Carlisle in League One.
His stats suggest that, rather than being hated because he plays for England, there is genuine cause for concern about his form between the sticks at the moment.
But Pope hasn’t exactly been much better…
Nick Pope stats (Premier League 19/20) Matches: 25 Shots on target faced: 109 Goals against: 38 Percentage of shots saved: 65% Goals against per game: 1.52 Clean sheets: 9
Pope’s stats are slightly stronger, but not by much.
Despite keeping more clean sheets, Pope has only got a marginally better save rate than Pickford.
However, there is one goalkeeper who has been considerably outperforming both of his England rivals…
Dean Henderson stats (Premier League 19/20) Matches: 25 Shots on target faced: 86 Goals against: 21 Percentage of shots saved: 76% Goals conceded per game: 0.84 Clean sheets: 9
Henderson is by far and away the standout performer out of the options available to Southgate.
While he has a much better defence to protect him, the 22-year-old has still kept out a significantly higher proportion of shots on his goal.
The Manchester United loanee has never played for the England senior team, but if he carries on performing at this rate, he may force his way in for a major tournament.
He is even out performing David de Gea, who has kept five clean sheets for United this season.
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