Jordan Pickford ready to battle Aaron Ramsdale for England No1 shirt at 2022 World Cup

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Jordan Pickford is relishing his battle with Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to be England’s No1.

Everton goalkeeper Pickford has established himself as the first choice for England ever since making his debut in 2017.

The 28-year-old has had to battle with other goalkeepers in that time, with Ramsdale the latest to fight him for the shirt.

Ramsdale has had a strong first season since joining Arsenal last summer from Sheffield United for £28million and has emerged as serious contender to Pickford, who is determined to keep hold of his place for the foreseeable future.

“There’s always going to be debate, there’s always going to be someone challenging you for your position,” said Pickford.

“It’s about keeping performing for club and country. You always want challenges, as a footballer you always want to be getting pushed.

“I really enjoy those challenges, and I want to be number one for England for longer.

“Rams has had a really good season, first season at Arsenal, and he’s been unbelievable. But for me it’s always concentrating on yourself as well.

“I know I’ve got to be at my best every day in training, because you’re always going to have that competition, for England and at club level as well.

“You’ve always got to keep pushing yourself, and keep setting yourself targets, and become better and get better.

“He (Ramsdale) is a great lad and we get on really well. And same with Popey (Nick Pope) as well, so we’ve got a nice group together.

“I think since I’ve been in the system with England, there’s always been good competition. I remember my first camp, I was in here with Harty (Joe Hart) and Jack (Butland) as well.

“There’s always been competition, I think there always will be competition. Nick and Rams have had two very good seasons, and provide very good competition for me.”

Pickford is expected to keep his place for England’s upcoming Nations League games, which begin on Saturday when they face Hungary in Budapest.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

The goalkeeper finished the season strongly for Everton, playing a pivotal role as they avoided relegation from the Premier League.

“We were in a position we didn’t want to be but we can be proud of ourselves that we got out of it and take confidence from that,” said Pickford. “But it wasn’t too draining for me. And I enjoy challenges, I enjoy battles.

“It was good form but my consistency levels over the past 18 months have been really good and I’ve been really happy with them - but I just want to keep getting better and better.”

These four Nations League games are viewed as vital preparation for England as they also prepare for this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Pickford was in goal for England’s last two major tournaments, where they lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup and the final of the Euros.

The goalkeeper says those defeats are fuel for him now and he is determined to go all the way in December.

“Obviously it is going to be challenging against the best teams in the world but it is about us having belief in ourselves,” said Pickford.

“We’ve come so far and had the disappointment in the World Cup semi-final and Euro final - that disappointment drives us.

“The disappointment is getting so close and losing, getting to the final and losing. We are proud of what we are achieved but when you get that close it gives you that added extra confidence to go and win the World Cup.”

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