Jordan Pickford insists he has become much calmer this season after successfully working on the mental side of his game.
The Everton and England No 1 was urged by Marco Silva to keep his emotions in check after a number of mistakes cost his team last season. Pickford has responded with three clean sheets in eight games this campaign, plus one for England, and he says he has learned from his errors. “I made a few mistakes last season but for me it’s about getting better,” he said in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports ahead of Everton’s game against Manchester City on Saturday.
“I’ve always thought I’ve been decent from playing out from the back but it’s about how to take things to the next level. “I’ve shown a lot more calmness. Everyone says I seem to be a madman on the pitch but all I want is to be the best, and if I’m at my best then I’m helping the team. “It looks like I’m mad but actually I’m shouting at the team. It’s not criticism; I’m giving them guidelines. It comes across as mad but I’m trying to be more calm and I think I’ve shown that.”
While Pickford’s form has improved this season, his missed punch from a Sheffield United corner directly led to Yerry Mina’s own goal in Everton’s 2-0 home defeat to the Blades last weekend. The 25-year-old is adamant the goal should not have counted, however, claiming he was deliberately obstructed by Sheffield United forward Callum Robinson as he went to punch the ball clear. “I thought it was a foul straight away but then I thought VAR was going to help me,” says Pickford. “But then I thought ‘if VAR wasn’t there, would the ref have blown for a foul?’
“I thought it was a foul but you reflect and think ‘could I be stronger?’ But I’ve watched the video back and I thought it was a foul because one second my arm’s there ready for the punch, the next thing it’s been dragged because my body’s been barged. “The game could be 0-0 at half-time, we build momentum and the result’s different.”
VAR did not come to Pickford’s aid on that occasion and he admits to being underwhelmed by the way the system has been implemented in the Premier League this season. “Why don’t we just do it like cricket? You have two reviews in Tests; I don’t think that’s a bad idea,” he said. “If we think it was a foul we can review it.
“I think everyone’s still learning about it to be honest. I think you learn as the game goes on. “I sometimes see myself asking questions to the referee as the game’s going on about it; not in a bad way, I’m just learning. The referees are still learning as well and adapting to it.”