Everton and England No.1 Jordan Pickford has been dropped in a sensational call by Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The shot-stopper has been out of form for some time and came under intense criticism after injuring Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk with a poor challenge a fortnight ago.
Everton have since lost at Southampton in their first damaging blow of the Premier League season.
While their outfield players have gelled well so far this term, Pickford has attracted the headlines with his bad mistakes at the back.
And Ancelotti has now taken the plunge in axing the former Sunderland star, favouring back-up and summer signing Robin Olsen instead vs Newcastle.
Everton play at St James’ Park this afternoon and his place in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for the Three Lions is certainly under serious threat now.
Southgate has stuck by Pickford to date, but he does have Burnley’s Nick Pope and Manchester United’s Dean Henderson vying for the No.1 jersey.
However, Henderson has struggled for game time at Old Trafford behind David de Gea since returning from his loan spell with Sheffield United in the summer.
And Burnley are shipping goals left, right and centre after a poor start to the 2020/21 campaign.
Ancelotti has made five changes to his Everton team that lost at St Mary’s last weekend, but Pickford’s absence is certainly the most eye-catching.
Ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock said: “You look towards the England number one spot now.
“Who comes in? Nick Pope's Burnley are bottom. Dean Henderson isn't playing for Manchester United.”
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Premier League pundit and former Newcastle ace Kieron Dyer reflected on the news ahead of kick off and added: “I just think his performances on the pitch just haven't been good enough.
“He's cost Everton a lot of points and Carlo Ancelotti has said enough is enough.
“I think Pickford's been very fortunate to keep his England place too. Maybe this is the kick-starter he needs.”
Chris Waddle also said: “He's kept his cards close to his chest Carlo Ancelotti, but when you go and sign a new keeper a few weeks ago you think why'd you sign him?
“Maybe the manager thinks now it's time. Let's be honest, when you see the goals Everton concede, you often think Pickford could've done better.
“It's up to Jordan Pickford again to fight for his place when he gets a chance.”
Ancelotti, meanwhile, explained: "I just want to give Jordan Pickford a rest for this game and to give an opportunity to [Robin] Olsen, to have minutes.
"Jordan will be back for the next game against Manchester United."
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