Pickford Excited By 'Incredible Experience' Of World Cup

Jordan Pickford cannot wait to sample the “incredible experience” of going to a World Cup after being named in manager Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England squad for the tournament in Russia.

If Pickford is selected to play in the competition which starts next month, he will become the youngest goalkeeper to represent the Three Lions in a World Cup finals.

The 24-year-old will compete for the gloves with Stoke City’s Jack Butland and Nick Pope of Burnley.

Pickford joined Everton from Sunderland in a then Club-record deal last summer and made his first England appearance in a prestige friendly against Germany back in November.

He shut out the reigning world champions in a 0-0 draw and kept another clean sheet when winning his second cap in a 1-0 victory in Holland two months ago.

Pickford was one of only 10 Premier League ever presents in 2017/18. He made 121 saves and recorded 10 clean sheets in his debut Everton campaign.

“I cannot wait, it will be an incredible experience and my experience at youth level will stand me in good stead,” said Pickford, who has represented his country at every age group from Under-16 through to the senior team.

“My family have always given me the best possible opportunity to become a top goalkeeper and it would be really special to pay them back by playing at a World Cup.

“I was given an opportunity by Gareth Southgate and I think I took it. I played under him for the Under-21s, so he knows what I am capable of. There is already trust there.”

England open their campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on 18 June and face Panama in Nizhny Novgorod six days later. Southgate’s side wrap up their Group G fixtures on 28 June in Kaliningrad, where they take on Belgium.

Pickford will be 24 years and three months old when England kick-off against Tunisia. Former Tottenham Hotspur player Paul Robinson is the youngest ‘keeper to play in a World Cup for the Three Lions having been 26 years and eight months when England were quarter finalists in 2006.

England progressed to the last eight in 1962 with Sheffield Wednesday’s Ron Springett as first-choice stopper at the age of 26 years and 10 months.

“The first piece of the jigsaw is complete in getting on the plane and the next thing is to get the starting shirt,” added Pickford, who played every minute of England Under-21s’ European Championship campaign last year, when the Young Lions reached the semi-finals before losing on penalties to Germany.

“It would be a dream come true. If I play I will be the youngest goalkeeper for England at a World Cup, which would be an achievement. I feel I have worked hard and performed to my best (when picked by England) and that should give me a chance to be number one.

“If I get the opportunity I will take it – it will be brilliant for me and help me kick on. And it is great for Everton that the Club will be represented in the squad.”