London (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti believes Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has the personality to shrug off the recent criticism of his performances.
Pickford’s mistake, letting Christian Benteke’s equaliser slip under him, in the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace put the focus back on his individual form after a mixed 18 months.
The England number one was criticised by former player turned pundit Gary Neville in September for laughing when 3-1 down to Manchester City, while others have scrutinised Pickford over other perceived failings.
However, the 25-year-old has received the backing of his manager ahead of Sunday’s game at Arsenal as Everton try to continue their push for a European place.
“To be England number one is a responsibility I think he deserves,” Ancelotti told his pre-match press conference. “In my opinion he is the best English goalkeeper.
“I’m not so afraid about the critics. In the game against Palace he did a mistake and he did a fantastic save. This is the job of the goalkeeper.
“Sometimes unfortunately you can have a mistake but after that you need to have the personality to move on quickly and he did. I think also for this reason, not only his technical quality, he is the goalkeeper of the national team.”
Ancelotti said modern goalkeepers had to be able to play with the ball as well as save shots, describing Pickford as a “complete player”.
The Italian did, however, add with a smile: “If I have to choose a goalkeeper with good feet or good hands, I prefer a goalkeeper with good hands.”
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