Jordan Pickford’s Everton performances have been under the microscope once again this season.
There have been mistakes against Fleetwood and Brighton, while the Merseyside derby incident with Virgil van Dijk also brought further scrutiny.
However, not too many of the comments have come from former goalkeepers.
Nigel Martyn knows exactly what it takes to be an Everton goalkeeper, having made 100 appearances for the club between 2003 and 2006 and we spoke exclusively to him about Pickford’s performances.
“He has made one or two errors, and I know how bad that makes you feel,” said Martyn. “That does knock your confidence.
“What he needs to do is get a run of games where he makes the odd save, Everton win and almost goes under the radar. I want to see him where his emotion is very level.
“So if he does something brilliant, don’t really celebrate in the way he sometimes does. On the flip side, if you make a bad mistake, don’t hammer yourself outwardly.
“We know he’s a very good goalkeeper but I’d just like to see his consistency level out. That comes from working hard on the training ground and everything will come back onto an even keel.”
Everton signed Robin Olsen on deadline day but when we asked Martyn if Pickford should be left in the side – and whether he would want to play through this bad form if he were in Pickford’s shoes – his answer was clear.
“I’d leave him in. Personally, I’d always want to just keep playing and play out of it. If you have a bad game, you need a solid game after that.
“It seems perhaps he wants to get involved in the game when perhaps you’re best off not getting involved. (Against Southampton), he looked good, those are the sorts of performances he’s got to churn out now and very quickly people will stop talking about him.
“That’s the best thing, when people aren’t talking about you. Just knock out a few clean sheets. I was always a big believer in going back to your training, working hard, building up your confidence and the matchdays take care of themselves.”
A spell out of the limelight is exactly what Pickford needs, and clean sheets and understated performances are the best way to go about getting that.
It’s interesting to hear a former goalkeeper’s insight into the impact of making mistakes on your confidence and what can be done on the training ground to put it right.
There is a salient point in there about Pickford not trying to get involved in matches. He needs to focus on doing the next thing right and keeping a level head whether he does it excellently or badly.
At the moment, Pickford fluctuates too much, when the very best goalkeepers are on an even keel and calm regardless of their personal form or anything else going on.
Martyn has outlined what the 26-year-old needs to do to get back to his best. Carlo Ancelotti – and Gareth Southgate – will be hoping he does exactly that.