Thursday the 9th of November and goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson is putting his England goalkeepers through their paces in training at St. George’s Park.
Joe Hart who has been Englands number one since 2012 is due to make way way for Jack Butland for their friendly match versus reigning World Cup winners Germany at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.
Backing them up in the training camp is number three keeper, Everton’s £25m summer signing, Jordan Pickford.
Fast forward to the days end and Jack Butland has been sent back to Stoke City for assessment on a suspected broken finger and England manager Gareth Southgate is forced to make a choice on who will now start between the sticks for his side.
Does he revert back to Joe Hart who has come under scrutiny for his performances or give an uncapped twenty three year old in the shape of Pickford, his deserved chance?
Following the trend in which he has promised to blood youth in the game by starting the likes of Harry Maguire, Ruben Loftus Cheek and Tammy Abraham. Southgate opts to play Pickford.
In front of a crowd of 81,381, Pickford did not let his manager down.
Two excellent saves in the first half matched by his dominance aerially in his eighteen yard box rounded off an excellent debut.
However one thing stood out above all which gives me the belief that the former Sunderland man is England’s best all round keeper, is his distribution and his conviction with it.
See Highlights of Pickford debut here
Whilst Hart and Butland have excellent shot stopping ability which Pickford is more than capable of matching, they cannot compete with him in this department.
Whilst I still rate Joe Hart as a very able Premier League keeper, his star has faded since he was deemed surplus to requirements by Pep Guardiola for the quality of his distribution. The jury remains out with Butland as he has struggled with injury in his last two seasons at Stoke City.
Pickford has everything in his amour. Quick throw outs, long and short distribution from the floor or his piercing side-winder volley which Tammy Abraham almost profited from in the second half.
Having seen how comfortable Pickford is with the ball at his feet will force Southgate to question which keeper is the best fit for his team and how he wants them to play.
Englands opposition on the night had Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal who is widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in Europe with the ball at his feet. The man he has the unenviable task of ousting is Manuel Neuer. The reason Neuer is ahead is that his quality on the ball is just as good as his supreme shot stopping. He has the whole package.
Neuer made his debut for Germany at the same age as Pickford and has been undisputed since because of his all round quality that he offers the team.
Southgate has to seriously consider his choice of goalkeeper on what they can offer his side.
Pickford will make mistakes, there is no doubt of that.
However he has an all round game that can make him a world class goalkeeper and that cant be ignored because of the simple excuse of lacking experience.