Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford
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Jordan Pickford

Current Club: Sunderland.

Loan Clubs: Preston North End, Bradford City, Carlisle United, Burton Albion, Alfreton Town, Darlington.

The 23 year old goalkeeper has been attracting immense hype over the last two seasons, with Sunderland pinning all their hopes on him. While he was unable to save the Mackems from the drop, it has not stopped the tabloids and the internet cranking up a frenzy of speculation on his future. Knowing how the English media overrates, overblows, overhypes anyone English who shows a modicum of talent until they find a new young hope to build up, I thought I would keep a close eye on this lad, to see if he is a genuine world class talent.

What I have seen is a very good young keeper, but far from a world class talent, yet at least. With goalies tending to peak later than outfield players, Pickford certainly has time on his side.

He does have incredibly fast reactions and great agility, allowing him to get to stops other keepers might not reach, but he does have a tendency to just parry the ball straight out into trouble, rather than away or up high, so that he gives himself time to recover. That is something he will have to look at, good keepers just parry shots, great keepers get them away from danger too.

Pickford's footwork is good, with fast feet enabling him to get out quickly, but his starting position is very deep which leaves him taking risks when rushing out, leading to mistakes.

In fact these last two issues were both highlighted in the last game I watched as Sunderland played Arsenal at the Emirates. The second Gunners goal was put in by Alexis Sanchez after Pickford parried the ball across the goal and there was one moment when he rushed out to the edge of the box and ended up kneeing the ball away when it should have been a simple ball to gather up.

I would not criticise his choice to punch easy catches clear as that seems to be standard for all keepers these days, but it does worry me as it would be much better to relieve the pressure by just taking hold of the ball. However, his lack of command of the box is a real concern, he is too quiet and does not help his defence out by organising them.

What he does do particularly well is distribute the ball with his feet, generally picking out a teammate with the ball kicked off the floor or dropped from his hands. However, he can be forced into mistakes with a bit of pressure, which will generally see him panic and slice his clearance.

Pickford is a talent, a very raw talent, with a bit of development there is no doubt he is good enough for a top half Premier League team, but he is far from a world class talent. Despite the hype he is a long way behind the likes of Manchester United's David De Gea and Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois or Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer at the same age. That is probably why he is being tracked by the likes of Everton and West Ham United, rather than Real Madrid and Barcelona.