Jordan Pickford’s position as England’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper is in doubt heading into the international restart.
The shot-stopper – who has been a virtual fixture in Gareth Southgate‘s plans since the start of World Cup 2018 – is facing a battle to keep the gloves with Burnley keeper Nick Pope believed to be applying genuine pressure on Pickford.
The 26-year-old has suffered an alarming dip in form in recent months, a number of high-profile errors costing Everton goals towards the back end of last season.
Jordan Pickford’s place as England’s No 1 goalkeeper is now coming under serious threat
Indeed, Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti publicly warned Pickford that his performances must improve in July following a defeat to Wolves.
And the keeper’s slump in form has not gone unnoticed by Southgate and his backroom team, who, sources claim, are duly concerned.
As a result, Sportsmail understands the England manager is considering giving Pope, who was excellent for the Clarets last season, a game in at least one of the forthcoming Nations League fixtures against Iceland and Denmark – the national team’s first matches in 11 months following the Covid lockdown.
No final decision on team selections have been made yet as Southgate examines his players in training this week.
Burnley stopper Nick Pope is set to become first choice following a stellar season
But Pickford – one of the country’s heroes in Russia two years ago – is now in a bonafide fight with Pope and Manchester United keeper Dean Henderson for the No 1 shirt heading into next summer’s Euros.
On the goalkeeper situation, Southgate said last week: ‘I think we have three decent goalkeepers, I think they are the best three in the country at the moment.
‘I think Aaron Ramsdale comes into that list but better for him to play football with our Under-21s. There’s obviously Tom Heaton coming back from injury but these three are young enough to fight out a challenge.
‘In every position on the field we’ve got to have that competition. It’s 10 months since we played.
‘But I’ve also got to bear in mind that Jordan has had excellent performances for us with England, has never let us down in terms of his performances.’