Gareth Southgate chose Jordan Pickford to start, ahead of Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale, in England’s 6-2 win against Iran.
Despite facing competition for the number one shirt, Pickford continued his 100% record of starting in major tournament games since his call up to the national team.
Going into the tournament there was much speculation as to whether Southgate would choose a different keeper to represent his side with the alternatives being Newcastle’s Nick Pope and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale.
Pope has starred in an over-performing Newcastle team that sit third in the Premier League. He is joint with Ramsdale in conceding only 12 goals this season. The 30 year old also has the joint most clean sheets (seven) this season.
Ramsdale has played a vital role at table-topping, Arsenal, and has earned himself a call up off the back of some wonderful performances. He too has seven clean sheets but has played a game less than Pope.
By contrast, Pickford sits in 17th place with a poor Everton side and has only three clean sheets this season. He has however consistently shown his ability to play out from the back. The former Sunderland man has made more forward passes than both of his rivals and has picked up an assist this season which may provide Southgate’s reasoning for choosing him.
In the game against Iran, Pickford had very little to do in terms of shots to save and crosses to claim. His only real involvements in the first half came when he had the ball passed to him by his centre backs.
Iran managed seven attempts on goal in the second half with two of them being goals. In the 65th minute Mehdi Taremi netted Irans first shot on target from close range.
Pickford didn’t see his goal troubled again until the 98th minute when Sardar Azmoun fired a shot at him, which he tipped onto the crossbar.
Irans second goal came from the penalty spot. After a debatable VAR check for a foul by John Stones, Taremi added his second in the 103rd minute.
Looking ahead to England’s next two games, it is hard to see a reason why Pickford would be dropped. He is the ever reliable pair of hands in England’s goal and also allows the team to play out from defence.
England’s next game is against the United States on Friday night.