Everton are said to be preparing a bumper new contract for former Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, as they seek to fend off interest from Chelsea for the 24-year-old. Pickford enjoyed a wonderful World Cup for England at this summer’s tournament in Russia, and so inevitable links away from Merseyside have arisen for one of the nation’s newest treasures. The Stamford Bridge outfit are looking around for candidates to potentially replace Real Madrid-bound Thibaut Courtois, and Pickford is high on the list of targets on new manager Maurizio Sarri’s radar. The Toffees, then, have had to compile a large pay rise in the hopes of keeping Pickford between the sticks rather than have to seek a replacement.
When England crashed out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage, losing 2-1 to Croatia after extra time, a nation was silenced. The England fans, so vociferous in their support for the Three Lions on the shirt and the 11 heroic ones on the pitch, were left gutted. For this one glimmering summer, the optimism seemingly extinguished long ago started to flicker back into existence. Football was coming home, they thought. But it didn’t. However, instead of the usual what-ifs and why-didn’t-theys, this time the team left with their heads held high, falling against a side who, once they grew into the match, were simply the better team on the night.
With England’s World Cup squad set to be announced any time now (at the time of writing of course) the major news is that West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere have been left out of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad boarding the plane to Russia this summer. Speculation has been rife in recent months about the identity of the three goalkeepers Southgate would be taking to the World Cup with him, and it would appear that Hart is the one to miss out with Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope the three keepers of choice. This should of course bode well for the future, with Pope the oldest of the three at just 26.