David de Gea remains “one of the top keepers in the world”, says Jordan Pickford, with questions of recent errors from the Manchester United No. 1 merely highlighting “how good he’s been all season”.
A usually reliable last line of defence has endured a testing couple of weeks with the Red Devils.
After allowing a Lionel Messi drive to slip past him during a Champions League quarter-final clash with Barcelona, a Spain international then failed to keep out an effort from Leroy Sane during a Premier League derby date with Manchester City.
De Gea has also been left out of the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for the first time in five seasons, with the likes of Ederson and Alisson having edged ahead of him in the pecking order.
Everton rival Pickford is, however, refusing to buy claims of a dip from a proven performer, with a talented 28-year-old still very much part of the goalkeeping global elite.
“Everyone will have those games,” the England and Toffees custodian told Sky Sports.
“I think he [De Gea] is one of the top ‘keepers in the world and I think he’s incredible.
“It’s great to watch him as well when he’s on TV and you just watch how good he is, and from a young age how he’s developed, it’s incredible.
“You can’t criticise a ‘keeper for one game. I think it just shows how good he’s been all season again.”
Prior to suffering a 2-0 defeat against arch-rivals City, De Gea had been breached on four occasions during a forgettable trip to Everton.
Pickford secured a shutout for his side in that game, with the Toffees having now taken points off Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and United during a productive run at Goodison Park.
They have not been breached by any of the top-four hopefuls, with Pickford hoping that European qualification is still there to be shot at for Marco Silva’s side.
He added, with Everton sat ninth heading into the final three games of the season: “Our aim was seventh at the start of the season and we had a sticky patch in the mid-block of the season but we’ve turned it around.
“As a group, as a staff, as a club, seventh’s the best possible finish for us this season and we want to do that as players now.
“Hopefully this little run at the end of the season and the last block is momentum for the next season.”
Everton are back in action on Saturday away at Crystal Palace.