Jamie Carragher recalls Nani challenge as he defends Jordan Pickford
"These things happen"
Jamie Carragher has come to the defence of Jordan Pickford, whose reckless challenge on Virgil Van Dijk has ruled out the Liverpool defender for an unspecified but inevitably long period of time after Liverpool announced he would undergo surgery.
The tackle occurred during Saturday's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, and forced Van Dijk off early. Pickford has since been rightly criticised for the reckless and dangerous nature of the challenge, which went unpunished due to Van Dijk being offside - cheers VAR.
Speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday evening, Carragher acknowledged the dangerous nature of the tackle from the England goalkeeper, but wanted to quash the lynch-mob mentality of the reaction, recalling a moment when he almost broke Nani's leg in a game between Liverpool and Manchester United in 2010/11.
"There will be a lot of frustration now in the Liverpool camp, from Liverpool supporters. Maybe other people, neutrals, wanting Jordan Pickford to be banned," Carragher said.
"We've got to be careful with that, and I am going to defend Jordan Pickford on that.
"Yeah, it was a terrible tackle. I've had my leg broken, I nearly broke Nani's leg. These things happen, unfortunately, in football."
"I don't think anyone goes out of their way to deliberately hurt someone," he continued.
"99 per cent of professional footballers will not try to hurt someone.
"Jordan Pickford is all over the place with his game at the moment. He comes out and makes a crazy decision, as he has been doing for the last 12 months, and very unfortunately, one of the top players in the Premier League is obviously in a bad way.
"I really hope, and I think this will be the case... Jordan Pickford will not be in a good place himself tonight, and I hope he isn't in some ways.
"I always remember when I made that really poor challenge on Nani, fortunately nothing happened to him.
"We beat Manchester United that day, I went home and that was all I could think about.
"I've had my leg broken, I nearly broke Nani's leg..."@Carra23 defends Jordan Pickford after it was confirmed that Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery for a knee injury after a reckless lunge from the Everton 'keeper... pic.twitter.com/1ib5W1paFT
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 18, 2020
"I didn't wanna be associated with someone who brought another professional footballer's career to an end.
"It is a very serious one, we all feel for Van Dijk. As I said, he's made a really poor decision, a really poor challenge from Pickford, but I think that should be the end of it."