Jordan Pickford determined to be remembered as an England trophy winner

Jordan Pickford is aiming for Euro 2024 glory after having “sniffed” success with England in recent years.

The Everton goalkeeper has been a mainstay in Gareth Southgate’s side and has retained his place as first choice heading into the Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

Pickford played every game as England reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, lost on penalties to Italy in the Euro 2020 final and were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals in Qatar last year.

Jordan Pickford saves from Italy’s Andrea Belotti during the penalty shoot-out following the Euro 2020 final
Jordan Pickford’s penalty shoot-out saves from Italy’s Andrea Belotti and Jorginho at Euro 2020 were in vain (Mike Egerton/PA)

He has 51 senior caps to his name but is keen for the current England crop not to be remembered as nearly men.

“We’ve sniffed at it,” he said when asked if progressing from going deep into tournaments to winning them has to become the aim.

“We’ve had the semi-final of a World Cup, quarter final of a World Cup, runners-up against Italy in the Euros. We’ve had the taste and been defeated. We want to be winners.

“When we look back in 20 years, we want to be known as a winning team in a major tournament for England.”

Pickford believes England’s Euro 2024 qualification win in Italy has now laid down a marker moving forward.

England had not beaten Italy away from home since 1961 but recorded a 2-1 victory in Naples on Thursday night to start their campaign in impressive fashion.

It was the first time Southgate’s team had played since losing to France in Al Khor and Pickford feels it is also now the yardstick for future performances against the elite nations.

“It was a massive game – in history, we haven’t won there for a long time,” he said.

“I feel like those are the steps forward we need to take to become winners really in major championships. I remember the Spain game away (in 2018) when we won 3-2 in Betis’ stadium.

“It is just a little marker we are laying down as a team, our togetherness, our squad mentality. To go forward and be able to beat Italy away from home was a massive game for us.”

While Pickford nursed his World Cup disappointment, he did make himself sit and watch the final as goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez starred in Argentina’s win.

Emiliano Martinez, right, celebrates after saving Kingsley Coman’s penalty in the World Cup final penalty shoot-out
Emiliano Martinez, right, celebrates after saving Kingsley Coman’s penalty in the World Cup final penalty shoot-out (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Aston Villa stopper made some crucial saves and shone in the penalty shoot-out, where his antics of putting off the France takers were clear for all to see.

“He’s just trying to psych them out,” Pickford said of the man who was named goalkeeper of the tournament in Qatar.

“He’s just using tools to save them – which he has done.”

Asked whether he would ever deploy similar tactics, Pickford replied: “No, I don’t think so.

“I have my own set routine. That might be his routine. Every individual is different as a goalkeeper and it has obviously worked on the night for him.

Emiliano Martinez celebrates with a lewd gesture with his World Cup Golden Glove award
Emiliano Martinez’s antics during and after the shoot-out win in Qatar drew criticism (Nick Potts/PA)

“Other people can talk but he has obviously saved penalties and made a fantastic save in the last minute of stoppage time.

“He is a top keeper. Everyone is their own individual goalkeeper.”

Ukraine visit Wembley on Sunday as England look to make it two wins from two on their quest to reach next summer’s tournament in Germany.

It will be an emotionally charged atmosphere under the arch, with the war in Ukraine at the front of the minds of many inside the stadium.

Pickford is likely to line up against Everton team-mate Vitalii Mykolenko but admits he has not had any pre-match catch-up with the defender.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, right, and team-mate Vitalii Mykolenko
Pickford and Ukraine’s Vitalii Mykolenko are Everton team-mates (Barrington Coombs/PA)

“I’ve not spoken to him,” he added.

“Since he has come in he has been brilliant. He has gone through a tough time at home for the nation but he is a great lad, works hard, down to earth, gets on with his job and is a top player.

“But they are all good players in that squad and we have to be wary of them in a game we want to win.”