David James has assessed several besieged Premier League goalkeepers after a tricky 2020 for a number of top stoppers.
Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and one-time Manchester United hero David De Gea have wobbled in recent months, leading to speculation over their futures with each club.
Everton star Jordan Pickford is the latest to come under intense scrutiny following several errors in recent Premier League fixtures and wobbly performances last term.
James was speaking as part of a new Utilita campaign ‘Switch Before Pitch’ in a bid to help grassroots football clubs save money on energy bills and raise money during a tough COVID-19 lockdown period.
He joined in RadioTimes.com’s official Football Times podcast to discuss all things goalkeeping, and offered a few thoughts on the main men under pressure.
“I think this season for England in the games he’s played… faultless. Two clean sheets, he’s done well there. For Everton, there was some criticism aimed at him in the cup but they still went through.
“It’s one of those things where if you have a bad game and win, then you’re happy. The piled-on criticism is unjustified in the large amount, what he’s doing for England justifies playing for England again, so I don’t see a problem at international level.
“Obviously, if you’re in a run of bad form – and I don’t think Jordan Pickford is at the moment, I just don’t think he’s attaining the heights he had been doing to get him in the position of England’s No.1 – then eventually these mistakes are going to lead to losing games.
“Pickford is not in that position so I’m not adding any fuel to that argument. He’s a young man with a great future ahead of him.”
David De Gea
“Dare I say a nice thing? This has got nothing to do with my affiliations to any other club, but the nice thing is we have an English keeper [Dean Henderson] competing with a goalkeeper who has, for the last four or five years, been regarded as the best in the world.
“Hendo had a fantastic season last season with Sheffield United and the fact that he can go back to Manchester United and put up an argument is refreshing.
“For the last four or five years, De Gea has been outstanding and therefore it’s going to be a tough ask for Hendo to take his place.”
“I don’t know Frank [Lampard’s] reasoning for signing Edouard Mendy. I think he’s more of a challenger or better support act that Willy Caballero.
“I like Kepa, I liked him when they signed him, he’s not had the greatest of starts but the potential he’s got, you’d expect him – even if he loses his place for a short period of time – to rebuild him into a £72million goalkeepers.
“He’s got all the capabilities, just perhaps hasn’t got the confidence at the moment. And I say that because he looks like it, not just because other people are saying it. Long-term Kepa should be the solution, I don’t think Mendy will be Chelsea’s first-team goalkeeper.”
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