Premier League

Why Does Jordan Pickford Attempt To Save Balls Going Out Of Play?

Why Does Jordan Pickford Attempt To Save Balls Going Out Of Play?

Jordan Pickford was recalled to the Everton starting lineup for their tie against Manchester United, but was unable to help his side in a 1-3 loss.

Although none of the goals were a direct result of a Pickford error, there was one standout moment which could have have calamitous consequences for his side.

In the second half, a United free-kick was floating harmlessly over the Everton defence and behind for a goal-kick. However, Pickford decided to rise up and attempt to collect the ball before it went out of play. He subsequently dropped the ball to a waiting Harry Maguire, who Pickford then kicked point blank in order to stop the goalscoring opportunity.

At the very least, it was a penalty to Manchester United. At most, it could've seen Pickford sent off.

It was a situation that could have been avoided if Pickford had let the ball go out of play.

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It was eerily similar to an incident from a Merseyside derby at Anfield during the 2018/19 season. In the dying moments of the game, a sliced Virgil van Dijk shot was floating over the bar. Rather than allow the ball to nestle on the top of the goal and take a goal kick, Pickford instead trying to reach up and catch the ball, saving it from going out of play, but landing it at the feet of Divock Origi.

Liverpool won 1-0, and the cult of Pickford had begun.

In the aftermath of the game, Pickford stated that he was trying to tip the ball over the bar, however, the technique on show looks like the England goalkeeper was attempting to make a catch.

Either way, Pickford's insistence on getting involved when there's no need to cost his side in that game.

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There's no such confusion in the incident from the United match, with Pickford definitely attempting to catch the ball when there was no need.

So, why does he do it?

Well, it may be down to Pickford's desire to create counter attacking situations for his side.

One of the goalkeeper's most valuable assets is his ability to punt a ball down the pitch. His prowess can be seen in this clip of an assist for England U21s in 2015.

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Of his 38 total passes against Manchester United, 20 of them were long ball attempts. This is despite Everton having more possession and having more total passes than Manchester United.

However, there is some method to his decision making when it comes to passing. His long ball to Dominic Calvert-Lewin led to Bernard's opener.

Also, Pickford could have seen a weakness in United's transitional defence, with Demba Ba's goal in the Champions League on Wednesday a direct result of farcical defending from a United attack.

There's also a case to be made that this season has seen Jordan Pickford attempt the fewest long balls of his career, compared to his season averages.

Having players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harry Kane to play the ball up to can create goals out of nothing, and Pickford knows that. His passing isn't where he falters, it's everything that comes before that.

The England number one has come under continued scrutiny for his performances at Everton, particular over the last 18 months.

Although he has all the weaponry to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, repeated errors are blighting a career which seemed so promising when he made a £30 million move to Goodison Park from Sunderland in 2017.

Is it a desire to counter attack or are these just the hallmarks of poor decision-making?

Either way, Jordan Pickford's stock is sinking.

SEE ALSO: Mourinho Unhappy With Role Arsenal Coach Will Play In Bale's Welsh Workload

Sean Meehan

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