According to reports, Bayern Munich will scout England and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Manuel Neuer has been Bayern’s undisputed No.1 in goal for several years but he has not played since September due to a foot injury. However, Neuer has now recovered and is in Joachim Low’s Germany squad for Russia but question marks remain over his long-term future.
Neuer’s deputy Sven Ulreich’s high-profile errors cost the Bavarians dearly in this season’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid and thus, Bayern have reportedly identified Jordan Pickford to replace Ulreich.
Pickford has impressed massively since moving to Everton from Sunderland last summer and looks set to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper in the World Cup. Gareth Southgate dropped a heavy hint to confirm his choice last weekend, starting Pickford ahead of Jack Butland in the 2-1 win over Nigeria.
Calm in pressure situations and composed with the ball at his feet, Pickford has grown leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. The 24-year-old’s attributes are more favourable to the possession-based pressing style that Southgate wants in the England national team.
When Sunderland were relegated last season from the Premier League at the end of the 2016/17 campaign, Pickford was among the very few to bow out with their heads held high. The Black Cats found themselves outclassed and outmanoeuvred by most of the opponents and it’s frightening to even believe how they would have fared without Pickford.
The Washington-born goalkeeper had given a glimpse of his quality at Sunderland and soon after the club went down, Everton came calling and snapped him up.
At Everton, Pickford’s outstanding reflexes have caught the eyes. He commands the box very well, makes himself big whenever required and continuously barks orders at his teammates.
Pickford has strong hands, makes good judgements and hardly flops. The 24-year-old never shies away from coming off his line and his courage is matched by his technical ability. His kicking is really good too.
His exceptional distributional skills and fantastic shot-stopping abilities make it no surprise that he is being considered by a club of Bayern’s stature.
Manuel Neuer has redefined the art of goalkeeping with his sweeper-keeper role and distribution skills. He has the requisite foundation of a solid technique and has always been considered as the world’s best. On top of his excellent shot-stopping abilities, Neuer rarely makes mistakes.
However, Neuer missed eight months of action with a foot injury this past season and it will take time for him to return back to shape. Bayern’s new boss Niko Kovac must give Neuer the time and space to return back to full fitness but he shouldn’t rely on the error-prone Ulreich to start in goal next season.
Hence, signing Pickford post-World Cup certainly makes sense for Bayern. With top distribution skills and fantastic reflexes, the Everton man is ideal for the Bundesliga champions’ No.2 slot.