Chris Kirkland has criticised Chelsea shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois over comments he made about England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The words in question from the Belgium number one came after his side secured a 1-0 win over the English in their final World Cup 2018 group stage game. The result did not affect the progression of both teams to the last 16, but it did ensure that Belgium won the group, with England having to settle as runners-up.
Former Manchester United flop Adnan Janujaz scored the only goal of the game for the Belgians and afterwards, Courtois criticised Pickford’s attempt at keeping the effort out, saying: “The goalkeeper is 10cm smaller than me. I would have caught it. He was too busy throwing his legs in the air.”
Kirkland has since publicly called out Courtois for his comments, stating: “I think what people said, especially Courtois, was out of order.
“To say that about another goalkeeper, you know we are in the same position. I think he might be hopefully eating his words in a few weeks team if we meet them in the final.”
Pickford was named as the Three Lions’ first-choice goalkeeper for the World Cup in Russia despite not having much international experience to his name, having only made his debut in November 2017 during an international friendly against Germany. In his defence, though, Pickford is coming off two impressive seasons with Sunderland and Everton, respectively, and he has proven that he does have the capabilities to play at the highest level.
Many questioned whether manager Gareth Southgate was correct to name Pickford as his first choice between the sticks, especially as he has the more experienced Jack Butland at his disposal.
However, Pickford did silence many of his critics after starring in England’s penalty shoot-out victory against Colombia on Tuesday. The win ensured that the Three Lions have advanced to the quarter-finals of a World Cup for the first time since 2006.
They are set to face yet another testing encounter against Sweden this Saturday. Southgate’s men will, however, be the favourites to win the clash.