Michael Ball: Everton-linked 23-year-old looked nervy when I saw him live
By Harvey Byrne
Former defender Michael Ball has told how goalkeeper Jordan Pickford looked nervy when he saw him live in action in February.
Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio revealed on his personal website on Friday that the 23-year-old goalkeeper was close to joining the Toffees for a fee of £18million.
The young shot-stopper is highly thought of and is much sought after following his breakthrough into the Sunderland first team this campaign.
However, with the Black Cats’ confirmed relegation to the Championship it is likely he will now be on the move and Everton are one of the club’s most heavily linked.
Now, ex-left-back Ball is not sure whether Pickford is the answer to the Toffees’ goalkeeper problems and has told that he looked “a little nervy” when he saw him during the 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park in February.
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“Jordan Pickford is increasingly linked with a summer move to Everton,” wrote Ball in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
“And his name was back in the headlines this weekend after his performance against Hull City.
“Clearly, Pickford has done well and is heading in the right direction – he was called into the England squad this season.
“I’ve only seen him live once this season and it was when Sunderland came to Goodison.
“It was his first game back after injury and he looked a little nervy and he gave the ball away a few times but he’s young and everyone talks highly of him.
“Whether Everton are looking at him as a future first-choice, or one for now, I don’t know but either way they have to sign a keeper they class as an immediate No1.”
Pickford has played in 26 Premier League matches this season, keeping just four clean sheets in total, while also conceding 41.
However, Everton also have their own problems in the goalkeeper positions with Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenburg failing to impress this season.
It is now thought that Ronald Koeman will be drafting up a list of targets for the summer in order to try and improve on his side’s expected seventh placed finish next season.
In other Everton news, the Toffees are set to make a serious push for prolific striker.