Jordan Pickford is convinced Everton has the ‘strength and depth’ for the season ahead after joining up with Ronald Koeman’s new-look Blues.
The goalkeeper took part in his first full training session as an Everton player on Tuesday as part of the Club’s pre-season camp in Holland, having been given extra time off following England Under-21 duty at the European Championship last month.
The 23-year-old admitted he was hugely impressed by the quality of his new team-mates and, with the addition of six new signings since he put pen to paper on a five-year deal, he is more convinced than ever that he has joined a club ‘on the up.’
Pickford, who signed from Sunderland in a £25million deal that could eventually rise to a Club-record £30million, said: “This feels like a club that is going places. We’ve spent a lot of money (on new players) but it’s not just that, it’s also the investment in the new training facilities and the plans for the new stadium.
“It’s only going to go in one direction and that’s up. The Club is showing massive ambition and that’s one of the reasons I came to the Club.
“We can go as far as we want to. We’ve got the team and we’ve got the depth as well, which is massive, especially in the Europa League, but also week in, week out in the Premier League.”
Pickford admitted it was a buzz to train alongside fellow new signing Wayne Rooney for the first time, having grown up idolising the England international.
“It’s great to be in the same team as Wayne. The career he has had is fantastic and to hopefully be pulling on the same shirt as him is unbelievable,” he said.
“I remember his first league goal (for Everton) against Arsenal. That went massive on the TV and that was when he burst onto the scene.
“You’ve got to look up to him, like you look up to so many other people when you are wanting to become a footballer.
“But it’s not just Wayne. The manager has brought in a lot of good players this summer, and there were a lot of good players already at the Club, so it’s an exciting time to be here.”
Pickford said it was a “no-brainer” to join Everton from Sunderland - the club he grew up supporting – once he heard of the Toffees’ interest earlier this summer and after speaking with manager Ronald Koeman, that reaffirmed he had made the right move.
“It was the right time for me to move to Everton,” he said. “I spoke to the manager on the phone and he said he was looking forward to working with me.
“He told me about the direction in which the Club is going and he talked about the ambitions and everything and it was a no-brainer to sign. I was just excited to get down to the training ground and get started.”
Now Pickford is relishing the challenge of battling with Joel Robles and Maarten Stekelenberg for a starting spot.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he added. “You’ve got Joel who had a good season last season, and Maarten who is a proven goalkeeper. He has played in a World Cup final.
“But competition for places is something I thrive on and I want to become the best I can be.
“I have to work hard on the training pitch out there and it’s down to me. Hopefully I’ll get chosen by the manager.
“My first priority is to get into the squad and then, hopefully, solidify myself as the number one.
“Then it’s a case of keep playing and playing and getting better and better and keeping as many clean sheets as I can.
“If you’re getting clean sheets then we’ve got enough outfield players who can go out and get those wins. So I’ve got to do my job and then hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”