Southgate: Pickford prototype of modern goalkeeper


England World Cup hero Jordan Pickford hit back at Thibaut Courtois following his penalty heroics against Colombia.

Courtois had claimed that Pickford was too short after he was beaten by an Adnan Januzaj curler in Belgium's 1-0 win over England during the group stage of the tournament. I would never mock the height of a goalkeeper, he had a great year, I said because he got a touch I maybe would have saved it because I'm a little bit taller. "It makes me even better", he said.

"I did a whole bunch of research", Pickford said, his confidence sky-high.

For his part, Pickford was remarkably understated when asked about his role in the win, and about his increasingly lofty place on England's all-time goalkeeping pecking order.

Courtois made a string of fine saves in Kazan on Friday as Belgium secured arguably the greatest result in their history with a 2-1 win over Brazil to reach the semi-finals for only the second time.

On Tuesday, the England goalkeeper played an instrumental role in propelling the Three Lions to their first ever World Cup penalty shootout victory.

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Twelve years later the near-39-old David Seaman stood motionless as Ronaldinho's speculative long-range shot floated over him nearly in slow motion as Brazil knocked England out in the quarter-finals.

"England and Belgium, who I have saw a lot, have both managers doing incredible jobs, really good tactical things".

"So, to be able to play the way I think we want to play moving forwards, we need goalkeepers of that ilk". He proved it this year.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said it was "doing everything within its power to ensure principles of fair play, integrity and respect are at the forefront of this World Cup and how the organisation is now run".

Yet, for a country with a rich tradition of goalkeeping greats, there were huge doubts over who Gareth Southgate would select between the sticks in Russian Federation.