Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford says he will strive to continue being the “best version of myself” as he prepares for England’s European Championship showdown with Germany on Tuesday.
Pickford has sustained his fine Everton form in 2021 at the tournament, producing a succession of flawless performances for the Three Lions.
He is yet to concede a goal at Euro 2020 and has been a consistently calm, authoritative presence for Gareth Southgate’s team – confidently commanding his penalty area and making vital saves when called upon.
The 27-year-old has also showcased his passing range throughout the tournament, using the ball with accuracy and ambition and helping to launch England attacks.
England manager Southgate has described his displays as “excellent” and hailed the Everton stopper for “being decisive in the right moments for us”.
Pickford declared his intent to keep providing a solid platform as the last line of England’s defence.
“For me, it’s about continuing to perform for the nation game in, game out, every time I get called upon,” Pickford said.
“I want to be the best version of myself I can be to give us the best opportunity to win football matches.
“That means making saves, keeping clean sheets and giving that chance for the strikers to go and score the goals.”
Pickford has now made more combined World Cup and European Championship appearances than any player in Everton’s history.
In starting England’s 1-0 win over Czech Republic on Tuesday, he moved ahead of previous record-holder John Heitinga. Pickford has featured in 10 matches across both competitions (seven in the World Cup, three in the Euros).
He is set to win his 35th cap when England lock horns with Germany at Wembley – the same opponents he faced when making his senior Three Lions debut in November 2017.
That game, a friendly international also held at the national stadium, finished in a goalless draw but Pickford is aware Tuesday’s clash is of significantly greater importance.
And he is expecting a stern test against a Germany side who qualified from Group F in dramatic circumstances following a late leveller against Hungary.
“We knew if we finished top, we would be coming up against the second-placed team in their group,” Pickford said.
“We know how hard their group was and their game against Hungary was a good one to watch.
“Germany are a top side. We know the quality they have.
“It’s about us being prepared to be the best we can be on that day.”