Pickford: This Is Why I Joined Blues

Jordan Pickford wants to carry on performing so he can play in “big games” in Europe for Everton, after making his competitive debut against MFK Ružomberok.

The Blues’ new keeper, who joined from Sunderland over the summer for a potential Club-record deal rising to £30million, has had to be patient ahead of his first start for his new club, with Maarten Stekelenburg getting the nod for last week’s Europa League first leg against the Slovakians.

But Pickford was pleased to play his part in helping Everton secure safe passage through to the play-off round, keeping a clean sheet and putting in a commanding display.

And he hopes it's the first of many victorious European nights with the Blues.

“It was nice to play in Europe,” he said. “It was why I came to the Club – to play in big games. I want to prove that I am good enough so hopefully I can keep playing well and keep performing.

“It is hard to come to places like this, with a vocal home crowd, but it was great to get a win and a clean sheet, and more importantly to get through to the next round.

“We are starting the season early with these competitive games but it is better for us as a group of lads to have that extra edge early doors. To go into the season knowing we are through to the next round gives us momentum for next week [against Stoke City].”

The former Sunderland man was happy with his performance against Ružomberok and believes manager Ronald Koeman was right to give him an extra week’s work at USM Finch Farm before handing him a first competitive start.

“It was fantastic to make my debut,” Pickford added. “I have had to wait a little while but I feel sharp now. So I think it was the right decision to keep me back another week and let me out this time.

“It was a steady away performance. For me, I just wanted to do everything clean and as good as I could. I wanted to command my area and I felt like I did that well.

“They kept me busy because we knew they would be a threat with set pieces. We had to be on our game defensively but everyone was on it so that’s why we have kept a clean sheet.”

For now though, all eyes are on Friday’s draw for the play-off round - and Pickford knows exactly how he’ll learn of Everton’s opponents.

“I will probably find out who we draw off the Everton Twitter account!," he confirmed.

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