Gary Neville blasted Jordan Pickford after England conceded their first goal of Euro 2020 – but Ian Wright leapt to the goalkeeper’s defence.
Pickford failed to keep out Mikkel Damsgaard’s vicious, dipping free-kick on the half-hour mark, with the set-piece effort creeping in under the crossbar.
While it was undoubtedly a brilliant shot from distance, Everton star Pickford will be disappointed as it was by no means in the corner of the goal.
Former Three Lions defender Neville pointed this out in a scathing verdict at half-time, but his fellow pundit Wright simply claimed Pickford was beaten by an excellent effort.
“Most definitely,” Neville told ITV Sport when asked if the 27-year-old should have done better. “We feared the worst when they lined up.
“The goal was coming, Denmark were getting through us far too easily, it’s a long way out and I always think if the ball goes in the corner there’s no problem. The ball goes in the centre of the net, and the goalkeeper has to do better.
“His big problem is that ultimately he’s blocked, he doesn’t see it until late, then he goes late himself.
“But he has to get in a position where he can go earlier, it’s right above him and he’ll be really disappointed.”
In contrast to Neville, Wright highlighted how Pickford only saw the ball late in its trajectory due to the way it rose and dipped over the wall.
He said: “I know what you’re saying, Gary, about where it’s gone in the goal, but the wall and the strike – Damsgaard deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s hit that ball.
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“Jordan Pickford sees that right at the death. Honestly I think that’s very harsh, simply because they have targeted him and you’ve got to give Damsgaard credit for that free-kick.”
Meanwhile, Neville voiced his concerns about England’s defensive structure, saying: “Our full-backs have to make sure they stay attached to our centre-backs.
“Shaw and Walker are going to press the wing backs way too early and leaving Maguire and Stones exposed.”
Roy Keane echoed these comments as he branded England’s first-half performance “sloppy.”
“Denmark haven’t come here and parked the bus. England started well but then got a bit sloppy,” said the former Republic of Ireland midfielder.
“I thought the Denmark goal was coming. Denmark were dominating. We asked how England would deal with any setback and they dealt with it well. Proper game on.”