Jordan Pickford says his recent improvement for Everton has fed into his international form, after an assured display in England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria.
The 25-year-old, formerly of Sunderland, made his 20th appearance for his country in the Euro 2020 qualifying match at Wembley on Saturday afternoon, and made some important saves despite England’s dominance.
His firm stop against Wanderson early in the second half maintained a 1-0 lead for Gareth Southgate’s side, who immediately went to the other end to score as Marcus Rashford won a penalty which hat-trick hero Harry Kane scored.
Pickford later made another good save to tip a curling free-kick from Ivelin Popov away from the top-right corner.
“It is brilliant coming away when we’ve been doing well for Everton,” Pickford told Everton’s website.
“Everything for me starts with Everton and doing everything well for my club. The rest takes care of itself. Then with England, the competition is great and it is a group of top-quality lads and players.
“I closed the angle off well and trusted myself to make the save [from Wanderson]. It was a decent save – but a training ground save, one you should make. But it kept us at 1-0 then we went up the other end and scored straight away.”
Pickford kept clean sheets in both of Everton’s first two games of the season, and their good early form sees them more or less matching expectations as they sit sixth in the Premier League table.
The 3-2 win over Wolves before the international break could prove an important one in the context of the season, with games against Bournemouth and Sheffield United to follow after the break.
Before then, England face another European qualifier on home soil as they welcome Kosovo to Wembley on Tuesday night. Though it is a game the Three Lions will be expected to win, Pickford won’t be allowing his concentration to drop.
“I stay focused by talking and making sure I am organising everything in front of me,” he said.
“That keeps me in the game and is the reason why I am always talking. I am learning more and more about the calm side of my game.
“That is being calm in possession of the football and showing I am not fazed by it [playing from the back] and have the ability to do it.
“It is learning little percentages all the time to become the best I can. As long as I do my best for the team every time I play, that is all I care about.”