Jordan Pickford became Britain’s most expensive ever goalkeeper and the third most-expensive ‘keeper of all time when he joined Everton in a £30 million deal from Sunderland back in June.
The 23-year-old was the shining light in an otherwise disastrous campaign for Sunderland, who were relegated to the Championship last term.
Without the impressive Pickford in between the sticks, it’s safe to assume the Black Cats’ fate would have been sealed much earlier in the 2016-17 campaign.
Ronald Koeman and his backroom staff at Goodison Park had seen enough of Pickford to convince them he was worth spending big money on.
But Pickford’s arrival hasn’t prevented the Toffees from enduring a terrible start to the 2017-18 season.
Koeman has been sacked and replaced, for the time being, by David Unsworth, whose side have conceded 24 goals in their opening 12 league fixtures. That’s the second joint-worst record in the English top-flight alongside Stoke City and Crystal Palace. Only West Ham have conceded more goals so far.
Pickford had a shocker against Palace
Everton conceded their 23rd and 24th goals of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
And Pickford was arguably at fault for both of Palace’s goals, scored by James McArthur and Wilfried Zaha.
The young ‘keeper, who made his full England debut against Germany earlier this month, parried a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot straight into McArthur’s path for Palace’s opener and then made a complete hash of a Joel Ward cross later in the half, leading to the home side’s second goal of the afternoon.
Despite Everton’s dismal defensive record this season, Pickford has avoided heavy criticism this season. Pinning the blame on the Englishman would be extremely harsh and, more importantly, unfair.
Joey Barton gives his brutally honest about Pickford
However, Joey Barton gave his brutally honest opinion about Pickford live on talkSPORT on Monday - and his comments are bound to raise the eyebrows of football fans.
"I’ll tell you who I think is getting away with murder - the Cat,” Barton was quoted as saying by Joe.co.uk. “The Cat’s all over the joint - Pickford. He keeps pushing stuff out.
“The goal he gives away the other day he palms it straight out. People are forgetting that he got relegated last year.”
Harsh from Barton
And that was Pickford’s fault, was it, Joey?
Sunderland had a terrible defence - well, squad actually - and a manager, in David Moyes, who clearly didn’t want to be at the Stadium in Light.
Even if Sunderland had Manuel Neuer in goal, they still would have gone down last season.
Although Pickford was undoubtedly poor at the weekend, to suggest he’s “getting away with murder” is a bit over-the-top from Barton.
But that’s his opinion. Do you agree with it? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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