Gareth Southgate will stand by Jordan Pickford despite the England goalkeeper losing his automatic starting status at club level.
Pickford was dropped by Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti for last weekend’s Premier League defeat to Newcastle United, with loanee Robin Olsen preferred in his place.
Ancelotti said that Pickford’s omission was only temporary but the 26-year-old has suffered an alarming dip in form ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Southgate intends to stand by Pickford and, after announcing his England squad for the forthcoming November internationals, said that he saw no realistic challengers for his international place.
“When people say I have been loyal to him, he has deserved that. His performances have been excellent and that has not been a difficult decision for me,” Southgate said.
“We have some competition for places, but I would have to say that there is nobody who I think is challenging at the moment to push him out of that position.
“In terms of how his club are looking after him, he has got a hugely experienced manager there and is in a very good place.”
Pickford has also received criticism for his Merseyside derby challenge on Virgil van Dijk which caused the Liverpool defender to suffer a serious knee ligament injury.
The Everton goalkeeper has had to endure abuse on social media for his part in Van Dijk’s injury, which Southgate condemned on Thursday afternoon.
“I understand the passions which happen in a local derby – but of course any abuse or threatening behaviour to anybody… we are seeing a lot of examples of this in various guises on social media and I think that is a concern for everybody really.”
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