Jordan Pickford has opened up on his ambitions to go “all the way” with England as he gears up for his second World Cup as the Three Lions’ number one.
Gareth Southgate’s men touched down in Qatar earlier this week and are now preparing to face Iran in their Group B opener in Doha on Monday night.
The Everton man has been an integral squad member throughout Southgate’s tenure in charge of the national side, a period which saw England reach the World Cup semi-finals in Russia and the European Championships final last summer.
“Playing for England was a dream as a kid growing up, any kids dream who loves football is to play for England and I have achieved that dream,” said the Everton shot-stopper previewing this winter’s showpiece event with BBC Sounds.
“My next ambition was to be number one for England and luckily, I’ve been number one since the 2018 Russia World Cup.
“Now I’ve got the opportunity to go to my second World Cup, we got beat in the semi-finals last time, got beat in the finals in the Euro’s, so we’ve tasted defeat and now hopefully it’s our turn to go beat the best and go all the way.”
England have been pitted against Iran, USA and Wales in Group B. None of those three countries rank inside FIFA’s top 15 nations, while England currently sit inside the top five.
The Three Lions are heavily fancied to top the group and are also one of the pre-tournament favourites to go all the way, however, Pickford admitted progressing out of the group won’t be easy.
“It’s a tough group,” said the Everton star. “Every international side who has qualified for the World Cup has had to come through a tough qualifying process but as England, we want to win every game we play in and take each game as it comes.
“Iran is our first group game, so our sole focus is on them. We are confident of getting out, topping the group and getting into the next round but you can’t look past your opponents in the group, and we will need to be positive and confident to get through.”
While football is Pickford’s number one passion, he’s also known for his love of music.
During the interview, he spoke in detail about some of his all-time favourite songs and artists, which included a salute to the English DJ duo CamelPhat, stating that: “They’re big Evertonians and their music is great”.
Pickford also lifted the lid on who controls the music in the dressing room on matchdays, revealing how it’s very much a collaborative effort when he's away with the England squad.
He said: “Everyone picks a tune, one maybe two songs (from each player) all get put into a playlist, the masseur has the playlist, everyone gets their own song on, so you won’t get just one type of music. “
When pressed about who takes charge of the music at Everton, Pickford confirmed it’s a task that’s been taken out of the players' hands this year, although you won’t hear any complaints from the 28-year-old.
“The staff have got a hold of it, it’s right up my street and gets you going,” he added.
“Some of the lads will get the tunes now and then but this year it’s been the staff who have had it and I am a fan of it.”
Keep an eye on evertonfc.com throughout the World Cup for regular updates on how our internationals are performing for their respective nations.