David Seaman insists Jordan Pickford deserves to be England’s undisputed No1 – but will have to get used to being judged differently.
Seaman won 75 caps in a glittering international career but remembers how the pressure changed as soon as he became established as England’s first choice.
It is a familiar story for Pickford who became a national hero at the 2018 World Cup and yet the Everton keeper has struggled under the spotlight at times this season.
Pickford complained that as an international “everyone hates you” after making a mistake against Crystal Palace in February and complained he was being targeted by TV pundit Gary Neville as “they just want to come for England players.”
England legend Seaman said: “Jordan is No1, no doubt. He’s made a couple of mistakes but, as a goalkeeper, you do that and it’s how you react afterwards is what’s important. That’s what tells you how good they are going to be.
“Jordan always rebounds in a positive manner and he’s a confident lad anyway but you don’t dismiss World Cup experience, the Nations League and the qualifiers.
“You can’t throw that away at the first sign of trouble. You want a goalkeeper that’s steady and calm. You want a keeper that’s capable of making big saves and he’s still doing that.
“He is being pushed now and it will be interesting but, for me, he’s the No1. As England’s No1, you get scrutinised whether it’s your fault or not.
"I’ve been there and done it! He will get used to it. It’s a different way of life. He’s still young and learning.
“I was 26 and made my debut and it wasn’t until later on when I became No1. So I had a lot of experience to fall back on but Jordan’s still learning.
“Being the No1, that’s what you will always get. Paul Robinson phoned me up once after the goal that bobbled over his foot. He went: ‘I can’t believe the amount of stick I’m getting.’”
Seaman remembers all too well the ups and downs of being England’s No1 but now, looking back, he is regarded as one of the best of all time.
Pickford, 26, established himself as first choice in 2018, becoming England’s shoot-out hero as they reached the semi finals of the World Cup and then performed more heroics last year as he scored in a shoot-out in the Nations League.
But that has only served to raise his profile. Now he is judged by different standards, with Dean Henderson and Nick Pope are breathing down his neck and pushing for his place.
While Pickford dropped a clanger against Manchester United at Goodison Park, Henderson has been earning rave reviews for his performances on loan at Sheffield United.
But Seaman says Gareth Southgate has handled it exactly right by reassuring Pickford.
Seaman said: “Gareth’s thoughts would be exactly the same as Terry Venables when he came to me and said: ‘Right, you’re my No1 and that’s it.’ That really settled me down.
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