Paul Merson claims ‘outstanding’ player has ‘covered over the cracks’ for Everton

The former Arsenal midfielder has reserved high praise for one Goodison star in particular.

Paul Merson has hailed Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for his “absolutely outstanding” contribution to Everton’s survival bid in recent weeks - but has argued that the England number one’s form has “covered over the cracks” for Frank Lampard’s side.

The Toffees head into Sunday’s clash against Brentford two points clear of the relegation zone having taken two wins and a draw from their last three Premier League outings.

Over the course of that resurgence, Pickford has garnered widespread praise for his standout performances, producing superb moments of individual quality against Chelsea and Leicester City in particular.

But while Merson has acknowledged the 28-year-old’s importance in recent weeks, the pundit also questioned the extent to which he has masked the fickle nature of Everton’s purple patch.

Speaking on Sky Sports News, the former Arsenal midfielder said: “A big part of it, Pickford has turned up.

“Pickford has been absolutely outstanding. He’s made massive, massive saves at important times, and they’ve sort of covered over the cracks if I’m being honest. Those results could have easily gone the other way and they could have been in trouble.

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“I have a lot of respect for the lad. He just keeps on going. He turns up week in, week out. He’s never injured, always turns up no matter how bad a game he’s had.

“A lot of players would go, ‘You know what I’m not right today’ - he doesn’t.

“Some of these weeks over the last two or three weeks are world class saves. Sometimes you watch montages of saves and you go, ‘I could have saved that’, but these are like proper, proper saves at big times in football matches.”