Ancelotti vows to stick with Pickford after Van Dijk storm

London (AFP) –


Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti says Jordan Pickford will not be taken out of the spotlight after a turbulent week following the challenge that left Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk with a serious knee injury.

Everton keeper Pickford was widely criticised for his ugly lunge on Van Dijk in last weekend's Merseyside derby.

He received social media abuse after the Liverpool defender was ruled out for several months with knee ligament damage.

Merseyside Police have looked into the online threats against Pickford and Everton team-mate Richarlison, who was sent off for a foul on Thiago Alcantara.

Pickford's place in Everton's team was already in doubt after a series of costly mistakes over the past few months.

But Ancelotti has no intention of leaving out the England international when the Premier League leaders face Southampton at St Mary's on Sunday.

"I don't take into consideration to take him out. He played well, he was focused on the game. I think he is going to play on Sunday," the Everton boss said on Friday.

Ancelotti was asked if Pickford had apologised directly to Van Dijk since the incident.

"I know that he was in contact with (Jordan) Henderson, he tried to be in contact with him but I don't know if he was able to be in contact with him," Ancelotti said.