Death, taxes and goalkeeping errors; three certainties of life that you pay for in one way or another.
Loss of life and fortune may be more serious in nature than costly mistakes, it’s a road traveled by every keeper, but one that isn’t a two-way street for all.
The true mark of a great goalkeeper isn’t just that of reliability, it’s also of how they react when they have left themselves with not just egg on their face, but with a full English including a pot of tea on the side.
The reaction in the minutes following the error and in the next game is a great indication of a keeper’s mental strength and is a huge test of a keeper’s character.
Within the very best keepers, the reaction is always positive. In others though, it can sound the death knell for careers.
That strength required to bounce back comes from being in that situation on more than just a few occasions and acquiring the resolution that they can overcome the pressure they’ve heaped upon themselves with their momentary haplessness.
Southampton’s equaliser last weekend was hardly a howler, but it’s the type of goal you look at and think ‘That doesn’t look good’. From a keeper’s point of view, that kind of goal is a nightmare.
The slight deflection on Jay Rodriguez’s shot was enough to alter the flight of the ball enough for it to dip a little more than Jordan Pickford initially anticipated and he couldn’t quite alter his dive to react.
That area, covering the points between knee, hip and elbow, is the Bermuda Triangle of goalkeepers and many more goals have been lost in there as ships in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Should he have saved it? Of course he should, and you’re more likely to be beating yourself up over ‘errors’ such as that one, than the ones that end up trending on social media accounts with ‘Lad’ in the title.
There was such regret in the voices of those commentating on the game because Jordan had been looking like his usual impressive self.
The injury to Vito and the lack of an experienced number three has left a big hole in the goalkeeping department which common sense would say needed filling, but a big part of me is hoping that whatever happens before the window closes, Jordan Pickford is walking out down the tunnel behind the skipper to face Everton.
It’s only human nature to think that despite the positivity of his performance on the whole, there could be a nagging sense of the goal costing his team their first win of the season and frustratingly having a fortnight’s international to ruminate on it. Now comes his first big test.
Fingers crossed that he gets the chance to overcome this mental challenge and show he has some substance behind the aesthetically pleasing displays he has shown us already.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Joe Hart’s loan deal with Torino is that a Venn diagram of people who bemoan the lack of adventure in English players and then sneer at his move to Serie A ‘minnows’ overlaps greatly.
While Torino are hardly the European superpower that Hart’s parent club have designs on being, he should be applauded for taking such an audacious step into the unknown.
I’ve said previously I thought he should stay and fight his corner, but it looks as if that may have been a battle he could never win, forcing him to accept Torino’s offer of first team football.
Again, just as with Jordan Pickford, this is not only a test of him as a goalkeeper, but as a person too.
A season long loan may give him a decent run at being a success in Italy, but from personal experience, there will be many hurdles to overcome for him to do that.
Joe will find that whatever happens on the pitch, off it, the experience will mean he’ll return home a better, more enriched person for it.
If he fully commits to his time there, taking himself out of his comfort zone will pull his personality in directions he never expected to and that’s the beauty of it.
You find out things about yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t discover in the bubble and routine of a club where he had become part of the furniture.
Professionally, his decision to come to Turin is a brave one, particularly for a keeper.
More than any other, our position relies on verbal communication as an imperative part of the job and this will initially be a problem for both him and his defenders until they find common ground and form an understanding.
The biggest piece of advice I was given was is try and learn the language as quickly as possible.
It took me 18 months before I got to a level where I had a decent enough gist of Danish to pick up on the conversations around the dressing room and that’s an important part of becoming a part of the team.
It’s difficult enough to integrate yourself into a new dressing room anyway, but especially when you don’t understand what’s being said around you.
This isn’t so much of a problem when you’re playing well, but if you put in a bad performance it’s easy for paranoia to set in.
It was a former manager who had played abroad during his career that gave me the advice about learning the local lingo.
He’d played abroad for much of his career and thought I’d like some advice. “Pick up as much of the language as quick as you can.” he said, “But don’t let your team-mates know you understand them. Not for a while anyway.”
I knew what he was getting at. “Until you understand what they are saying, don’t worry about them talking about you.”
“Why’s that?” I asked, expecting him to part with some words of wisdom to put my mind at ease. “Well, it’s because they probably are.”