By Ben Dinnery

20th Sep, 2022 | 5:00pm

Medical insider issues 'big' Everton claim as Jordan Pickford return date revealed

Everton will not gamble on the fitness of Jordan Pickford and will hold him back until the second matchday after the international break if needs be.

That is the view of medical expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in injury and data analysis.

Pickford was absent for the Toffees’ 1-0 win over West Ham last Sunday (18 September), with Azmir Begovic instead playing in goal.

The 28-year-old is currently out of action with a thigh issue, meaning he was not selected by Gareth Southgate for England’s upcoming Nations League double-header.

But as quoted by club media last Friday (16 September), Frank Lampard explained: “We hope Jordan gets back off the other end of the international break.”

Everton’s next match is against Southampton next Saturday (1 October) before a clash against Man United the following Sunday (9 October).

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Dinnery claims that Lampard will want to take no risks whatsoever with his first-choice number one.

“The best-case scenario is that Southampton game,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.

“If everything goes really well and he responds really well to the recovery programme, that is more than realistic. However, if there are any slight issues, the focus will switch to that Man United match.

“It was that kicking action that caused the issues in his thigh. It’s not something you can avoid.

“You don’t want to put any pressure on defenders to think differently about using their goalkeeper as an option. Once a player’s focus is taken away from what they do naturally, that’s when mistakes are made.

“There will be no chances taken by Lampard. Begovic did okay and kept a clean sheet against West Ham, which will be a big factor.”

In other news, expert backs Everton to agree “substantial” Gordon deal as talks open.