Former England stopper Nigel Martyn backs Pickford to see off Ramsdale competition

Former England shot-stopper Nigel Martyn has backed Pickford to continue as England’s number one in spite of the good performances by Aaron Ramsdale.

Martyn was a mainstay in between the posts during his time in the Premier League and won 23 caps for the Three Lions, but saw a series of brilliant domestic performances unrewarded as managers tended to stick with Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, the established no.1. And, speaking exclusively to 101 he cited this battle as evidence that good form doesn't necessarily guarantee a first choice spot.

"I think Gareth will stick with Jordan, certainly for now, and Aaron’s job is to keep him under pressure and keep playing as well as he can," Martyn told 101 Great Goals.

"That’s kind of what I had to do with Dave [David Seaman], and there were lots of times when I was probably playing as well as I had in the Premier League and there were lots of calls for me to play ahead of him and that sort of thing but ultimately he never let us down while playing for England so that opportunity never really came."

He added that, despite Everton struggling this campaign so far, and currently sitting just above the relegation zone, Pickford could still come out of the season with some credit, and can still rely on memories of his international performances to hold onto the number one spot.

"I personally think that Jordan has done nothing wrong playing for England and I think that Gareth has always been somebody that has stuck with players that have performed for him," the former goalkeeper claimed.

"I think Jordan has performed for him and is actually having a fairly decent season with Everton, he’s certainly not to blame for the position they are in the league at the moment. His performances have been pretty solid."

And Martyn even went as far as to offer Ramsdale some advice from his personal experience, warning that he should not lose heart if he is not selected, and instead just focus on the things within his control and his domestic performances.

"It is frustrating," the former Leeds man warned. "And the longer that goes on the more frustrating it gets, but all you can do is worry about your own performances, worry about the things that you can control and keep putting your hand up. Eventually, you’ll get an opportunity and you’ve got to take it."

A two-horse race for the no.1 jersey?

Beyond Ramsdale and Pickford, it is hard to make a case for any other goalkeeper taking the no.1 jersey under Gareth Southgate before the World Cup in November.

Sam Johnstone, out of contract at West Bromwich Albion this summer, made three appearances for the Three Lions ahead of Euro 2020, but has not featured since and though he was called up as a replacement for Ramsdale, seems set to withdraw himself from duty after picking up an injury.

Meanwhile, Nick Pope's time appears to have been and gone, while Dean Henderson has been consigned to the bench at Manchester United and has not featured for England since injury robbed him of a place in the England squad of Euro 2020.

This leaves just Everton's number one and Ramsdale to fight it out for the starting berth, and it is as of yet unclear who will win.

Who would your England number one be for the World Cup in November?

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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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