Neville compares Pickford to Qatar goalkeeper as he says England No.1 ‘has a mistake in him’

Gary Neville on Jordan Pickford Credit: Alamy
Gary Neville on Jordan Pickford Credit: Alamy

Manchester United legend Gary Neville reckons Jordan Pickford and his England defence have a “mistake” in them.

The Three Lions kick off their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday afternoon.

Pickford has been very consistent for his country, making it difficult for Aaron Ramsdale or Nick Pope to steal the No. 1 shirt off him.

His form for Everton has been patchy at times, though he has performed a lot better over the last year.

Neville admits Pickford has always impressed for England but doesn’t seem to have full confidence in the former Sunderland youngster.

The former England right-back also says the defence has “a mistake in them”.

Harry Maguire was named in the starting XI against Iran despite his struggles at club level for Manchester United.

Southgate has repeatedly shown faith in Maguire – who has been faultless for his country in two major tournaments.

Right-back Kieran Trippier has been excellent for Newcastle United this term, meanwhile, Maguire and his United team-mate Luke Shaw – who also starts against Iran – have struggled in 2022-23.

“England’s defenders aren’t in great form,” said Neville. “There is a mistake in them. There is a mistake in the goalkeeper.

“Although I have to say, the goalkeeper’s form for England is far better than sometimes his form for Everton. He plays well for England and seems to suit international football.

“To be fair, the types of problems he has at Everton are the type of problems that Qatar keeper had in that first half. But that is unusual at the international level.”

Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb had a nightmare against Ecuador in the World Cup’s opening fixture.

Al Sheeb fumbled a cross early on as Enner Valencia scored an offside goal.

He then gave away a penalty and was booked as Valencia opened the scoring, before doubling his tally with an unstoppable header.

The majority of the build-up to England’s World Cup opening fixture has been about the shambolic situation surrounding their desire for captain Harry Kane to wear a OneLove armband.

England – and six other nations – have now opted against wearing the armband due to potential sporting sanctions from FIFA.

“FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play,” a joint statement began.

“As national federations, we can’t put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

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