Jordan Pickford will “improve no end” working with "one of the best in the business" in Everton goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson.
That is the opinion of Danny Gabbidon, the former Premier League defender who played with Margetson at Cardiff City and was part of a number of Wales squads when the former Manchester City number one was Welsh keeper coach.
Margetson now occupies that role with both England and Everton, after being brought to Goodison Park by boss Sam Allardyce in December last year.
Toffees goalkeeper Pickford’s growing band of admirers include former Three Lions and Liverpool stopper Chris Kirkland, who recently insisted he did “not see one weakness” in the Everton player’s game. Teammate Michael Keane told evertonfc.com this week that Pickford possesses “everything a goalkeeper needs and can go right to the top”.
The 24-year-old has kept two clean sheets in his past five matches and – after recording a shutout on his England debut against world champions Germany last November and repeating the feat against Holland on his second national team outing – is hoping to be his country's first-choice keeper at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
And Gabbidon, who was capped 49 times by Wales and also counts West Ham United and Crystal Palace among his former clubs, is convinced his former colleague Margetson can help Pickford realise his lofty potential.
“It has been no surprise to me to hear Jordan Pickford saying great things about Martyn,” Gabbidon told evertonfc.com.
"I think Martyn is a great addition to Everton's staff and Jordan Pickford will improve no end working with him. He is already an excellent goalkeeper but he will get even better under Martyn’s guidance.
“I worked with Martyn in the Wales squad and saw how he went about things, and have heard what the keepers say about him, and he is clearly one of the best in the business.
“He is so highly regarded, a fantastic coach and getting better and better all the time.
“Wayne Hennessey at Crystal Palace rated him extremely highly and I know he was gutted when Martyn left there.
“I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him. Not when he was a player or now he is a coach.”
Margetson was 19 when he made his professional debut for City in a Manchester derby at Old Trafford in 1991. He left Maine Road for Southend United in 1998 and after three years with Huddersfield Town first crossed paths with Gabbidon after joining Cardiff City in 2002.
The Welsh club were promoted into Division One (today’s Championship) in the pair's first season together and they subsequently spent another two years together at Ninian Park before Gabbidon’s move to West Ham.
The duo were reunited at Cardiff in 2014/15 when Margetson returned to the club as goalkeeper coach shortly after Gabbidon rejoined as a player/coach.
Former centre-back Gabbidon – now a football pundit for various media outlets – swiftly recognised Margetson’s accomplished work on the training ground.
And he is anticipating Margetson – who was an integral member of the Wales staff when the national side reached the 2016 European Championship semi-finals, before joining England’s coaching team later the same year – forming a profitable working relationship with the goalkeeper Everton signed from Sunderland last summer.
Pickford has played every minute of Everton's Premier League campaign, keeping eight clean sheets and producing 112 saves – six more than Manchester United's Spain international David de Gea, widely viewed as the finest shot-stopper on the planet.
“First and foremost, Martyn is a really good guy,” added Gabbidon. “He loves his job and works really hard.
“The keepers and their coaches build strong relationships and develop a real rapport. When someone else comes in and does things differently it can be quite difficult.
“A lot of the goalkeepers I played with who were coached by Martyn loved working with him and Sam Allardyce obviously thinks very highly of him.
“He deserves all the respect he gets. And he was very good goalkeeper as well. He probably did not play as many games as he should have when we were together at Cardiff – he was a fantastic player.
“And now he has moved on to the coaching side he has taken to it like a duck to water. Everton is an ambitious club and aiming to move forward. It must be a great place to work and they have two excellent football people there in Martyn and Jordan Pickford.”