Being a fan of the England national team isn’t exactly easy, and the squad themselves would probably be the first ones to tell you that! It’s been a difficult journey over the course of the last few decades, as the expectations of a nation often weigh pretty heavily. Of course, Gareth Southgate didn’t seem to believe in all of that, and when he came into the fold, the whole game changed.
The highlight of Gareth’s tenure with the national team came last year, when he was able to guide the Three Lions to the semi finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Prior to the tournament it seemed ridiculous to think that they could go beyond the quarter finals, with some even suggesting that merely reaching the knockout stages would’ve been seen as a huge accomplishment. In the end, though, not actually managing to win the tournament was seen as pretty damaging for them.
We love you Pickford, we do
Thankfully, once it was all said and done, they were able to keep moving forward and progressing as a team. This past weekend they weren’t quite able to win the Nations League, but they still managed to achieve a 3rd place finish. As reported by BBC and Liverpool Echo, they did so mainly due to one man: Jordan Pickford.
The Everton goalkeeper was highly praised last summer for the role that he played in England’s World Cup success, but in recent months, an error against Liverpool in the Premier League has plagued a lot of fans’ opinions on him.
Now, though, that’ll surely no longer be the case.
Everyone remembers his heroics against Colombia in the World Cup Round of 16 penalty shootout, and against the Swiss, he took things to a whole new level. Gareth Southgate trusted him enough to be one of England’s primary penalty takers, and upon being given that role, he stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net with relative ease. From that moment on it seemed almost academic that England would get the win, and they did so courtesy of a magnificent save from Jordan himself.
Despite not seeming like a conventional goalkeeper, Pickford has really done a great job of making a statement in the last few years. He knows that he was always viewed as the underdog, and yet, he’s been able to prove himself as England’s number one time and time again. He’ll probably continue to be doubted as we look ahead to Euro 2020 next year, but he doesn’t care about that.
England are going to head into that tournament as one of the favourites (so long as they’re able to qualify) and rightly so. Pickford will obviously be one of the main men behind their surge towards trying to win a first European Championship, and he’s already proven that he can deal with the pressure pretty well.
So if you’re a Three Lions fan out there and you were worried about his ability to get the job done on the big stage, don’t be. It turns out he’s pretty good.