David Seaman is tipping “proper goalkeeper” Jordan Pickford to challenge for England’s number one jersey after making the “step up” to join Everton from Sunderland.
Pickford moved to Goodison Park in June in a record fee for a British keeper, and has impressed Evertonians with a string of authoritative displays for his new club this term.
The 23-year-old is currently with the Three Lions party for upcoming friendly matches against Germany and Brazil, as Gareth Southgate begins preparations for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Pickford, who represented England at the summer’s European Under-21 Championship, is yet to win full international honours but has become a fixture in manager Southgate’s squad this term.
And former Arsenal goalkeeper Seaman, capped 75 times during a decorated 22-year career, insists the Everton man possesses all the ingredients required to excel at the pinnacle of the game.
“Jordan is very, very good,” Seaman told evertonfc.com.
“He has made a step up by joining Everton, which is good. A lot of people do not realise these different steps you have to take as a goalkeeper.
“He was at Sunderland and had a lot to do but, without any disrespect to Sunderland, there was not a massive amount of expectation there.
“There is a far greater demand for success at Everton, so he will be getting used to that – and getting used to playing behind a new back four. He can then take that experience on to England.
“They are little steps that he needs to be taking throughout his career, he is learning and has everything he needs to be a proper goalkeeper.”
Pickford faces an immediate fight for the England gloves with regular starter Joe Hart and Jack Butland of Stoke.
Seaman anticipates Burnley’s Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster of Southampton throwing their respective hats into the ring for selection, too.
The scramble for the country’s goalkeeping position represents a stark contrast to the days when Seaman was England’s undisputed number one.
He was the Three Lions' 'keeper at four major tournaments – the 1996 and 2000 European Championship finals, and World Cup competitions in 1998 and 2002 – and at club level won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal.
Seaman insists there was no great secret underpinning his longevity and success. Rather, he simply concentrated on achieving a consistently high standard of performance – which he says should be Pickford’s primary concern.
“At that sort of age, what I look for is consistency and how many mistakes he makes that cost goals,” said Seaman,
“When I would chat with Bob Wilson (Seaman’s goalkeeping coach at Arsenal and a former double winner with the Gunners), we would look back at the season and identify errors I had made.
“Three or four that cost your team across a long season is acceptable – any more than that and we would have needed to have a good look at why that was happening.
“Jordan is definitely in the frame for England. There is competition: Jack Butland, Tom Heaton – Fraser Forster is still in the mix.
“Joe Hart, for me, is still really good. People question you when you are the England keeper for a long time – I know that from experience.
“Joe deals with it, he is still a good goalkeeper. It is down to the lads under Joe to get better and push him.”