Before the season started, we tried to warn Dream Team bosses about the dangers of major tournament hangovers.
After the 2018 World Cup, England players were very popular at the start of the following Dream Team campaign but not all delivered returns to match.
In the wake of the Three Lions run to the final of Euro 2020, Gareth Southgate’s troops were immensely popular but once again it seems plenty of gaffers allowed their hearts to rule their heads when picking their initial XI.
Luke Shaw (£3.8m) was by far and away the most popular defender before Game Week 1 and while Man United’s left-back hasn’t done anything wrong, his current points total of 11 points is modest at best.
It’s a similar story for Raheem Sterling (£4.3m), Bukayo Saka (£3.5m) and several others, including Jordan Pickford (£2.4m).
The 27-year-old was excellent in England colours during the summer, just as he was in Russia three years ago.
The assumption of continued career-best form combined with the possibility of a defensively resilient Everton re-imagined by Rafa Benitez meant Pickford was installed into tens of thousands of Dream Teams during pre-season.
However, the Toffees are not your typical Benitez team right now.
Only Man United and Man City have scored more league goals than Everton but the Merseyside club have only kept one clean sheet in five fixtures this season (all competitions).
While many Dream Team managers expected the likes of Pickford and Lucas Digne (£2.8m) to prosper, it’s actually been Andros Townsend (£3.1m), Demarai Gray (£2.2m) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.7m) who have produced the greatest returns.
Pickford has mustered just six points after four Game Weeks – 14 other Dream Team keepers have more points at this stage.
Given these rather damning statistics, it seems logical that those still backing the England No1 should seek a replacement, despite the fact Everton remain unbeaten in 2021/22.
The best performing keepers in Pickford’s price bracket right now are David Raya (£2.7m), Vicente Guaita (£2.2m) and Robert Sanchez (£1.8m).
This doesn’t have to be a permanent departure as Dream Team bosses keen on Pickford can always bring him back in if Everton add defensive fortitude to their effective attacking play.
But there’s no need to suffer low returns while you wait.