Gareth Southgate hints Jordan Pickford could be England's World Cup No 1

Jordan Pickford in goal for England
Image: Jordan Pickford only made his England debut against Germany in November

Gareth Southgate has hinted Jordan Pickford could be England's World Cup No 1 after heaping praise on the goalkeeper for his performance against Nigeria on Saturday.

The Everton 'keeper played all 90 minutes of England's 2-1 win at Wembley on what was only his third cap for his country.

However, Jack Butland and Nick Pope - the other two goalkeepers in England's World Cup squad - are similarly lacking in experience, and Southgate suggested Pickford may have stolen a march on his rivals.

Gareth Southgate
Image: Gareth Southgate has now taken charge of 17 matches as England manager

"I was really pleased with what Jordan did. Normally, when you play for England, there's not an awful lot of opportunity to produce a lot of saves," Southgate said.

"But his decision making on crosses, the punch he made, his distribution and calmness to slide passes into midfield... that was really important to the way we want to play.

"He can be very pleased with his performance."

England's final pre-World Cup friendly is against Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday, and Southgate said he had not yet decided which of his three 'keepers would start the game

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"We'll give consideration to who plays in goal against Costa Rica over the next 24 or 36 hours", Southgate explained."

The England manager also praised Kieran Trippier, who started at right-wing back against Nigeria.

Kieran Trippier in action for England
Image: Kieran Trippier made his sixth England appearance against Nigeria

The Tottenham defender has risen up the pecking order thanks to Nathaniel Clyne's injury troubles and Southgate's decision to move Kyle Walker into the back-three.

Trippier claimed the assist for England's opening goal when his corner was headed home by Gary Cahill, and Southgate said: "His quality on the ball is outstanding.

"There were two set-plays, the one just before the goal - a free-kick bang on the money - then the corner for Gary. It was a great delivery.

"But we also know his quality on the ball when he's in the final third. Kieran has outstanding quality and that kind of profile in that position is very important."

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