England’s No.1 goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, has been left in no doubt what his manager expects of him, after a series of high-profile errors has left question marks as to his suitability between the posts for club and country.
Against Wolves in Everton’s most recent match, Pickford allowed a shot to slip through his his hands and legs which almost led to a goal for the Midlanders.
It was just the latest in a lengthening line of mistakes, and Ancelotti has seen enough.
“I don’t know if he needs competition,” the Italian was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“I know that he is not doing well. I spoke with him. He’s not doing well. He has to be focused on himself, on his performance – day by day (he has) to try to be better.
“I’m not so worried because he has quality. He has character but I have to say to him – and I have said to him – that he has to improve. I don’t know if he does or doesn’t feel pressure; pressure is a part of your job. You have to feel pressure but pressure can be a good gasoline for your job.
“I – and everyone else at the club – has total confidence in his quality. It is true he can do better and he knows this because he is critical of himself. I hope there is improvement in the next games. I spoke to him (on Tuesday) about this.
“There is absolutely no problem (between us). For the quality that he has – and he agreed – he has to be better. My style is to have a direct relationship and direct communication with the players. If something is wrong I have to say clearly what is wrong.”
Not having competition for places can often see a player’s focus drift. When there’s no fear of losing your place, then there’s no real incentive to always give of your absolute best.
As a professional player that is the bare minimum expected of course, but that’s often not the case.
Pickford certainly needs to up his game pretty quickly. With the summer transfer window just around the corner, Ancelotti won’t think twice about replacing him if a suitable candidate becomes available.
He can’t say he hasn’t been warned.