“What did you make of Jordan Pickford’s performance today?”
It was the only question in Sam Allardyce’s post-match press conference that received a positive answer.
“He is a top drawer goalkeeper and a top lad,” the Everton boss enthused.
“I had him at Sunderland and brought him back from loan at Preston, he played a few games and showed his talent.
“I knew he was going to be a top goalie but I didn’t know it was going to be this quick. It’s outstanding it’s this quick.”
Allardyce had just watched his seven-match unbeaten run as Everton boss snatched away from him by Ryan Fraser’s deflected late goal. He had sat slumped in his chair in his post-match press conference, bemoaning the Toffees’ lack of goalscorers when he was asked about his young goalkeeper.
“He is very, very disappointed and I think the players should be disappointed that they’ve let him down today because he certainly should have got a point out of that with some of the saves he made.”
Indeed, there was little Pickford could do with Fraser’s winning strike. The ball had looped up off two of the defenders in front of him and into the back of his net.
Instead, the 23-year-old had done everything in his power to keep Everton in the game, making smart saves to deny Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe as Bournemouth pressed late in the second half.
His performance the one positive for Everton in a disappointing day at the office – something which has been a theme of their season so far.
In a summer of spending, Pickford was the one player Everton got absolutely right. Eyebrows were raised when Everton paid a then club record £30m fee to relegated Sunderland for their homegrown goalkeeper, but he soon won over the doubters with his performances.
Yes, he’s raw. His kicking, while positive, is sometimes rushed and uncultured, but his shot stopping is superb and his presence in the Everton penalty area belies his 23 years – anyone at the Vitality Stadium will tell you that they could hear the youngster screaming at his team-mates throughout the arena.
It’s just a shame that Everton’s other signings last summer have nowhere near lived up to the success of Pickford.
And it underlines why Steve Walsh and Sam Allardyce now simply have to get their recruitment right in January and indeed next summer.
Because the last one was nothing short of a disaster.
£25m for Michael Keane may end up proving to be a good deal and Wayne Rooney’s return has started to pay dividends after a slow start.
But as of right now, Gylfi Sigurdsson does not look like a £45m footballer and the less said about the £40m spent on Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Nikola Vlasic the better.
Everton were ambitious but the strategy between Walsh and Ronald Koeman seemed unclear.
The man brought in from Leicester clearly does have an eye for a player, the Foxes have a Premier League title to show for that…