Ramsdale v Pickford: What the stats say

The fight to be England's first choice goalkeeper for the upcoming World Cup is heating up, and it appears to be down to just two candidates.

While Sam Johnstone, Nick Pope and even Dean Henderson have all been in England squads in the past 12 months, it is Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale that seem set to contest the position to be Gareth Southgate's and England's number one for the tournament, due to be held in Qatar in November.

But who deserves to be walking out in the number one Jersey come November? 101 took a look at the stats behind both goalkeepers.

Domestic seasons to date

Taking a look at the table, it is clear to see the change in fortunes between Ramsdale and Pickford. Ramsdale's Arsenal side occupy fourth place in the Premier League, having conceded just 31 goals all season to date, and 10 of those before Ramsdale even joined the north London outfit from Sheffield United.

Everton and Pickford, meanwhile, sit precariously placed just above the relegation zone after a dreadful season, and England's first choice at Euro 2020 has had to pick the ball out of his net 47 times already, with 11 games still to play.

Unsurprisingly, it is the Arsenal shot-stopper that has the higher save percentage of the two, although it is a smaller sample size. Ramsdale has made 66 saves with a save percentage of 78.7%, well ahead of Pickford's 65%, though the latter has been forced into 83 stops.

Despite this, however, the difference between the two goalkeepers when it comes to conceding goals is not too different. On average, Jordan Pickford's post-shot difference stands at 0.09 per game meaning that per 100 games, he will concede nine more goals than an average goalkeeper should do.

Ramsdale, meanwhile, sits slightly ahead on 0.06, but the difference is not as vast as is perhaps expected given the difference in their sides' fortunes this season, and the fact that Ramsdale has managed 12 clean sheets compared to Pickford's measly four.

Distribution a key factor?

Playing out from the back has become a key factor in most top teams' choice of goalkeeper in 2022, with David De Gea being overlooked for the Spain squad due to this exact shortcoming. The data suggests that Ramsdale is more proficient when it comes to playing the ball out, certainly over shorter distances. Of passes up to 30 yards, he has recorded 377 at a success rate of 98.4%, while Pickford has managed just 197 with the same completion rate.

Of course, it is worth pointing out that Arsenal's style is far more reliant on their goalkeeper to help build-up play- in fact, Pickford's numbers for Everton differ to his performances at Euro 2020, where he completed 100 passes within 30 yards.

Reputation over statistics?

One thing that has been made clear in Southgate's reign as England's manager however is his loyalty to players who perform for him despite indifferent club form.

Ramsdale had nothing to do on his International debut, not being tested in England's 10-0 thumping of San Marino in their final World Cup qualifier, and despite his impressive rise remains untested at the very top level.

Pickford, by contrast, has made no obvious errors suggesting that he should be dropped as Southgate's number one, and even saved a penalty in the Euro2020 final shootout that he can feel unlucky to have come out on the losing side of.

Ramsdale pulling out of the squad for the upcoming fixtures against Switzerland and Ivory Coast has denied Southgate another chance to see the competition on the international stage.

Meanwhile, Pickford's strong performance against Switzerland in the most recent friendly only enhanced his credentials.

Unless there is a serious change, therefore, it is hard to see how Pickford is not the no.1 heading to Qatar, even if all the statistics are in Ramsdale's favour.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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