Everton’s Ancelotti adds to Pickford uncertainty

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti refused to confirm whether Jordan Pickford would start against Newcastl

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti refused to confirm whether Jordan Pickford would start against Newcastle this weekend after another high-profile error but said he had “no doubt” about the England goalkeeper’s quality.

Pickford was at fault for Leicester’s equaliser in a midweek 1-1 draw, failing to keep out Youri Tielemans’ shot with England manager Gareth Southgate watching at Goodison Park.

It was the latest high-profile error made by the 26-year-old this season, during which veteran Italian boss Ancelotti has rotated his goalkeepers.

Pickford was left out for the corresponding fixture against Newcastle at St James’ Park in November, when pre-season loan signing Robin Olsen played instead.

Ancelotti was coy when asked on Friday which of his keepers would be between the posts at Goodison for the match on Saturday.

“I don’t know,” he said, when asked if England’s number one Pickford would start. “I have to think about this. I am not in the habit of giving the line-up during the press conference.

“He did a mistake (against Leicester) and I think that we can say this, but this doesn’t change for me or his team-mates the confidence we have.”

Ancelotti added: “He did fantastic saves in the past, and if the team is solid, it is solid because Pickford was better than in the period before.

“There is absolutely no problem or doubt in his quality or his motivation.”

The Everton boss explained that Pickford did not play in the previous Newcastle match because he was rotating his players during a busy season.

“We have to play tomorrow (Saturday), Wednesday, next weekend,” he said. “We are going to have a lot of games and Jordan will be rotated like the other players.

“I think there is good competition there and the signing of (Sweden international) Olsen helped him to be more motivated but also with less pressure.”

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