The major problem Everton could hand England ahead of Euro 2024

England will be looking to end their lengthy wait for a major tournament win ahead of Euro 2024 this summer
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Jordan Pickford has been at Everton for almost seven years. Time flies when you're in a constant state of survivalist panic. The mischievous Mackem has been an omnipresent, and often vital, component in the Toffees' repeated feats of relegation escapism in recent seasons, and regardless of how his time on Merseyside concludes, you suspect that he will be fondly remembered as a cult hero of the club's recent history.

That being said, there is every chance that it is not going to end well. At the time of writing, Everton are 16th in the Premier League table, four points clear of the bottom three, with the spectre of yet another points deduction circling overhead like a particularly malicious vulture. Never before has a relegation battle felt more like a game of snakes and ladders.

And if Everton were to go down this season, it would leave Pickford in an odd situation. The England number one could feasibly head into this summer's Euro 2024 tournament in Germany as a Championship player, and while his status in Gareth Southgate's short term plans is unlikely to be affected, it would still represent a considerable departure from the norm.

Of course, individual merit is not always reflected by collective failures, but outside pressures and narratives often refuse to consider such nuances, and it is easy to imagine a situation in which some question the wisdom of England keeping faith with a stopper who, realistically, may be marooned in the Football League come May.

That being said, the Three Lions are not exactly blessed with alternatives. Aaron Ramsdale has been soundly ostracised at Arsenal in recent months, and has looked rusty on the rare occasions that he has been allowed out of the shadows; Newcastle United's Nick Pope is another option, but has been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder since last year, and is still a little way off fitness; Sam Johnstone of Crystal Palace often gets a look in, but is hardly a serious contender to start; and beyond that trio, the likes of James Trafford, Dean Henderson, and Jack Butland are barely even in the conversation.

As such, Pickford will almost certainly remain as England's first choice, regardless of whether Everton stay up or not, but the reality is that a stint in the Championship would probably make his undisputed claim for the number one jersey unsustainable. At that point, the Toffees' relegation would pose something of a problem for the national side, unless, of course, Pickford were to leave the club during the summer transfer window.

Such an exit would surely be expected, although it is not immediately clear as to where his next destination would be. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, two of the sides who have been perpetually linked with the 30-year-old in the past, both made high profile goalkeeping acquisitions last summer, while Chelsea, another touted suitor, look to have stumbled across a gem in Đorđe Petrović.

Nevertheless, it is borderline unimaginable for a player of Pickford's quality to be left languishing in the second tier, and as a consequence, in the event of Everton's relegation, his departure feels like an inevitability. If he does somehow stay on Merseyside, however, England could be left with something of a headache going forward.