Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s England squad after sustaining an abdominal muscle injury. The 27-year-old was substituted in the first half during Everton’s defeat at home to Burnley.
England Without Jordan Pickford for Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers
Games That Jordan Pickford Will Miss
Jordan Pickford will miss England’s games against San Marino, Albania and Poland. He is also expected to miss Everton’s FA Cup quarter-final game against Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Pickford is currently England’s first-choice goalkeeper and has received 30 caps for his country. The injury will open up an opportunity for either Dean Henderson or Nick Pope to play a starting role in Gareth Southgate’s side. Both are in good form this season and will be keen to make a good impression in the build-up to the European Championships this summer.
A New Battle for the Number One Spot is Likely
It could be an interesting battle between Henderson and Pope. After all, there have been several calls for Pickford to be dropped from his number one spot after a run of inconsistent displays, while Henderson and Pope have both performed well for Manchester United and Burnley respectively.
In the Premier League, Pope has conceded 32 goals from 28 appearances and has managed nine clean sheets. While Henderson is transitioning into life at Old Trafford following two seasons at Sheffield United, he has still managed four clean sheets from six outings, conceding just three. With Manchester United having been involved in several competitions this season, in total Henderson has turned out 17 times, conceding ten goals and keeping 11 clean sheets along the way for the Red Devils.
The injury to Pickford not only gives the other two a chance to compete for the number one spot, but it also provides Gareth Southgate with a decision to make ahead of the upcoming European Championships, which kick off in June this year.
A Chance for Sam Johnstone
Meanwhile, the England manager is expected to hand a first senior call up to West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, according to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett. Southgate is believed to be a big admirer of the 27-year-old, who has played a regular role for the England side at youth level earlier in his career.
It is expected that Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale will remain with the England U21 squad as they prepare for this summers European Championships.
Sam Johnstone’s performances in goal have been a huge positive in what has otherwise been a dismal season for The Baggies. So far, Johnstone has made the most saves in the Premier League with 119. He has made 120 appearances since arriving from Manchester United in 2018 and played a key role in helping them gain promotion last campaign. Before joining West Brom Johnstone has enjoyed successful loan spells at Aston Villa and Doncaster Rovers.
Johnstone would become the second West Brom goalkeeper to receive an international call up this week after Joshua Griffiths was included in the England U21 squad.