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Ex-Liverpool keeper James defends Everton No1 Pickford: Van Dijk foul a natural one

Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James has defended Everton No1 Jordan Pickford over his clash with Virgil van Dijk last season

Pickford lunged in on Van Dijk in the sixth minute of the Merseyside derby, ending the latter's season with just five rounds of Premier League fixtures played.

The Dutchman suffered an anterior cruciate ligament rupture and subsequently underwent surgery which ruled him out for an indefinite period, meaning he will also play no part at Euro 2020.

“It was a foul, in my opinion, but it's something that Jordan was always doing or naturally does - there was no intent to hurt anybody," the former Three Lions star told Goal .

“For Jordan that could in part have had an impact on some indifferent form because ultimately it was Liverpool's Van Dijk.

“It wasn't some young defender from Fulham who most people wouldn't have recognised, this was one of the world's best defenders from the Premier League champions so the conversation would just rumble on and on.

“For him to come through that and to be in the form that he was at the end of the season going into the tournament, that shows a positive mark of maturity from him."

James added: "When it comes to England, he's played marvellously well. All this energetic behaviour to get himself pumped up, it works for England.

"Jordan doing whatever he needs to do to get England over the line is not a problem."


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