The career of goalkeeper is arguably the most unusual in all of football. One can either be thrown in at the age of 18, spend a series of loans away from his parent club or even finally make the great grade towards 30.
Jordan Pickford and Alex McCarthy typify two of those respective careers, while one became Sunderland’s starting goalkeeper at 21, McCarthy has only now emerged as Southampton’s first-choice after a journeyman career.
With that in mind, let’s compare the two.
After eight loan spells during his time at Reading, Alex McCarthy was signed by Southampton two years ago to become the club’s backup goalkeeper for Fraser Forster. With Forster’s drop in form, the former Reading man was handed the starting role in the second-half of last season and has continued to keep it.
Amid a season where Saints seem to be struggling – much like last year – McCarthy has been one of the few players who has actually played anywhere close his best. Such has been his solid form that the goalkeeper was called into the England squad by Southgate.
While he has been good, with Angus Gunn arriving in the summer, it remains to be seen how much longer he’ll play as first-choice. For now, he remains a solid piece of business by Southampton.
TT Grade: B+
After an outstanding season for the relegation-bound Sunderland, Everton splashed out a huge fee to make Pickford the most expensive British goalkeeper in history. Since then, Pickford has established himself as one of the better young goalkeepers in Europe and as England’s long-term number one.
After a fairly solid season for Everton, the young goalie announced himself on the international stage during the World Cup. His leadership at such a young age is incredibly impressive and as everyone knows, his ability to start off play from the back is one of the best Premier League.
It was a fairly huge fee but it looks as though Everton have got themselves an outstanding goalkeeper.
TT Verdict: A-
Signing Alex McCarthy has proven to be a very shrewd piece of business by Southampton and at the moment, he’s one of the most in-form goalkeepers in the league. His experience is going to be vital in the developing young goalkeeper Angus Gunn and at the moment, he’s probably been Southampton’s best player.
Pickford, however, wins this battle as he has the potential to be a world-class goalkeeper in the next few years. Everton may have paid a big fee at the time but it’s definitely one that they’re benefiting from.
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