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Steve Bruce makes Jordan Pickford claim ahead of Newcastle United vs Everton

Steve Bruce has leapt to the defence of under-fire Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

The Newcastle United boss was in charge of Sunderland when Pickford broke through their ranks and began his career.

The Blues shot-stopper has faced fierce criticism for his recent performances and was much talked about following the Merseyside derby after his challenge on Virgil van Dijk.

Carlo Ancelotti and England boss Gareth Southgate have both issued their full support to Pickford and he remains the number one for both bosses.

With Everton heading to St James’ Park on Sunday, Bruce was quizzed about the form of his former goalkeeper.

Bruce was quick to back Pickford and insists that he can cope with the media attention.

“Let me tell you, he’s a very good goalkeeper,” said head coach Steve Bruce.

“When you’re England’s No.1, you’re there to be shot at. Every mistake he makes will be highlighted.

“That goes with the territory of being England’s No.1. He’ll have to deal with that.

Everton will be looking to bounce back against Newcastle after defeat to Southampton.

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“When he’s played for England, he’s never let anybody down. He just has to adapt to it, get on with it, and accept it’s part of being a goalkeeper, especially if you’re England’s No.1.”

Pickford was quick to defend his former boss last season when he was criticised at Newcastle.

“I knew Steve Bruce was getting a lot of pelters (at Newcastle), but I had him at Sunderland and knew what a top bloke and top manager he was when I was there, so credit to him,” said the 26-year-old.

“I was only young, but just in and out of training and around the place. He’s just a top bloke, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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