Marco Silva has said Jordan Pickford must learn to play with “more emotional balance”, despite insisting he retains complete confidence in the Everton and England goalkeeper.
Pickford, a boyhood Sunderland fan, endured a torrid game at Newcastle last weekend when he made several errors in the 3-2 defeat and appeared distracted by the taunts of the home crowd. The £30m keeper has had an erratic season since his heroics at the World Cup and Silva, although backing his player in the buildup to Sunday’s home game with Chelsea, admits Pickford needs to better control his emotions.
The Everton manager said: “We knew before the match, he knew also when he played there at Newcastle, that the atmosphere is always not the same to him. I remember when he played here at home against Newcastle what the fans of Newcastle tried to do with him and he answered well.
“I understand everything that people are saying about Jordan. Jordan has all my confidence, like Maarten [Stekelenburg] and João Virginia, our goalkeepers. What I want in Jordan is to keep working in the same way with the same desire, improving what we have to improve with him, with more emotional balance in some moments if he can. We as a team have to be different also. If you look at the goals we conceded we must do different in that moment.”
Silva claimed it is “unfair” to single out Pickford after Everton squandered a two-goal lead at St James’ Park when it is the team who lack consistency. However, he accepted that a 25-year-old with World Cup experience, and who is in the England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro, should be able to balance his emotions.
“Yes, I agree,” the manager said. “I’m not saying he doesn’t have it. He has. He shows it in some moments. After the Liverpool match two weeks ago everyone was saying we drew because Jordan was outstanding. I don’t agree it was just because of that. He made a fantastic save one against one with Mohamed Salah, yes. Now you’re saying we lost the Newcastle game because of this or that and all the highlights are on Jordan.
“I don’t see a big difference in Jordan Pickford from the first day I started working with him. I see the same humble guy every day, open to listening and to learning. In a season you can have good moments and others not so good. All of us, and him especially, expect big things of him because he has the quality and shows it during the season.
“You are talking about the No 1 for the national team and you know better than me what it is like for the No 1 of the national team for the last 10 or 20 years. Everybody likes to speak about that position, all the spotlights are on him, but I think all this pressure will help him get better. All of this focus has to be a pleasure for him, because it means he is playing at a high level. I expect big things from him. Everyone in England expects big things from him.”