Jordan Pickford was dropped by Carlo Ancelotti for the defeat at Newcastle, but restored to the starting lineup for the visit of Manchester United on Saturday.
Robin Olsen played fairly well on debut in the north east and Pickford couldn’t have done anything about the goals during the 3-1 weekend defeat to the Red Devils.
During an exclusive conversation with former Toffees stopper Nigel Martyn, we asked him about Ancelotti’s decision to omit Pickford for just the one game.
He said he understands why the Italian has to tread carefully with the England goalkeeper, because if he is dropped for any length of time, that could spell the end of his Everton career.
Nigel Martyn speaking to Everton News: Archive
“The weekend before, (Pickford) was on the bench,” said Martyn. “That was a strange one because Olsen came in and had quite a decent game, I thought.
“What Ancelotti’s done there is said, ‘I’m going to give you a break; you’re coming back in, it’s nothing to worry about’.
“I just think if you’re the player, you need to play yourself out of it, or if it doesn’t happen, then you have a few weeks out.
“Ancelotti knows if he drops him, completely, that’s probably him done at Everton. So it’s a more difficult decision based on that.”
“Because he’s the England goalkeeper,” continued Martyn. “And because he can’t play him anywhere else.
“Once you’re in the spotlight, as he is, as a goalie, there’s two routes. You play yourself out of it, or they do the chop.
“Taking him out for a week was fine, it probably made him feel better then, but the minute you come back in, you’re straight back in that spotlight.
“What I think you do is carry on with him and hope that the ability which got him there – playing for England – starts to shine through. If it continues, and he keeps making mistakes and it will eventually come to a head.
“That’s where a manager has to make a decision.”
Martyn is right to say that Ancelotti’s decision over Pickford isn’t simple – and his treatment of the player will have wide-reaching consequences.
If he loses his Everton spot, the questions over his England spot will intensify – and Gareth Southgate is getting asked about Pickford fairly regularly as it is.
Euro 2021 is on the horizon and that has to come into Ancelotti’s thoughts as well. What he does with Pickford will have consequences for his England place.
As Martyn says, that’s why Ancelotti is treading carefully. The Italian will hope his number one has an uneventful spell away with England and comes back with greater confidence.