(Reuters) – Everton’s Jordan Pickford showed exactly why he is England’s first-choice goalkeeper after a number of outstanding saves to earn his relegation-threatened club a 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday, skipper Seamus Coleman said.
Everton sealed their victory thanks to forward Richarlison’s goal but had Pickford to thank too, after the 28-year-old made a goalline save to deny Cesar Azpilicuta – an effort that some pundits described as the save of the season.
“That save he came back off the line and parried out was world class, and we see that on a daily basis in training, and that’s why he’s England’s number one – some of the saves were world class,” Coleman said.
Pickford later blocked Antonio Rudiger’s goal-bound effort with his face before keeping a shot from Ruben Loftus-Cheek out in front of a roaring Goodison Park crowd.
“My face isn’t too bad … I’ve had worse than that before,” Pickford said. “It’s what I’m there for, to make saves, to help the team.
“It was a big team effort and it was all about getting a big three points for us as players, the fans and the club. I really enjoyed it. Everyone battles for each other.”
Former Everton midfielder Leon Osman said Pickford’s save to deny Azpilicuta had kept their top-flight dreams alive.
Everton are 18th, two points adrift of Leeds United, who have played a game more.
“That save was incredible. Pickford has been criticised in the past because he has a tendency to do something rash,” Osman told the BBC.
“But not today. It was arguably his best-ever game for Everton in Everton’s most important game of the season.”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp called it the save of the season.
“It was magnificent. We’ve given Pickford a lot of stick in the past, but he was brilliant,” Redknapp said.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)