Former England player Paul Merson believes that Jordan Pickford should not play in friendlies as he does not serve any purpose to Gareth Southgate’s preparation for the World Cup. Pickford is still the first-choice goalkeeper with his main rival Aaron Ramsdale forced to withdraw from the squad with a hip injury. Nick Pope and Sam Johnstone have just 10 caps between each other meaning Jordan Pickford looks likely to start both games.

“It’s a shame Aaron Ramsdale is injured, I thought he would have had an opportunity in these friendlies to prove himself, but injury has put paid to that,” Paul Merson said about Jordan Pickford. “In terms of England’s goalkeeper for the World Cup, a lot depends on what happens between now and the end of the season. If Everton goes and get relegation, it’s going to be hard for Jordan Pickford to retain his position as England’s No 1. How many Championship players have played at a World Cup for England? You’ve only got to look at Kalvin Phillips, who went straight into the England squad once Leeds got promoted, to see how difficult it is for Championship players to get into the England squad.”

“I thought Ramsdale would have played in these games because you don’t want a situation where the World Cup comes around and Gareth may have to turn to a goalkeeper who has just one cap,” he added. “You can play in the Premier League but international football in a different game, one where you might not have to do anything for long periods but have to deliver in the crucial moments. I don’t see any point in Pickford playing in any of these matches at all. You don’t want a situation like what happened with Scott Carson repeating itself.”

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