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Gareth Southgate has a plethora of selection woes ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One area where his mind is made up is the number 1 jersey. Jordan Pickford is his number-one choice and will likely start despite missing England’s last three international commitments.
Pickford will be looking to add to his 45 appearances for the Three Lions, impressing at each instance of being called up. He was the mainstay in their last two international competitions and is gearing up for more.
England to get the ‘best Pickford’
The 28-year-old has impressed for Everton this season and believes he will be in the best form of his career in the FIFA competition. He shared that he has worked hard since overcoming his injury and is getting in the best shape possible, both physically and mentally.
“I always want to be the best Jordan Pickford I can be,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports’ Rob Dorsett.
“I put a lot of hard work in on and off the field to become the best,” the Washington native commented. “I work with a psychologist, I get myself in the best physical condition I can be, then the goalkeeping takes care of itself.”
“I feel over the last two years, I’ve been in the best mindset and I’ve definitely knuckled down more, improved and had more consistency. I feel like I’m only getting better now at my age.”
The work with the psychologist and improved focus on his physicality has seen Pickform impress in Everton colours. He has overcome blips in the form at Goodison Park and was the main reason the Toffees stayed up in the Premier League last season.
It has seen him earn the confidence of Gareth Southgate, whom he knows since their time together in the Three Lions youth setup. The manager has continued to put his faith in him while in charge, and only injury has seen him miss out.
Chance to go far in the Qatar extravaganza
Expectations are high from this current crop of England players. A team that exited the last campaign in the semi-finals and came up short in the final in the 2020 European Championships.
Pickford acknowledges that the Three Lions have the weight of expectations and believes this squad can go far in the competition.
“At the Russia World Cup, there wasn’t much expectation. Now there is an expectation and every game is crucial,” the Everton man commented.
“Ourselves, as a group of lads, the belief is going to be there. We know want we want. We want to go all the way and win it.
“You’ve got to beat the best teams to win it. There’s no denying it’s going to be tough. But we have that belief in ourselves to go as far as we can in the tournament.”
Despite several managerial changes at Goodison Park in recent years, Pickford has been a mainstay. Current supremo, Frank Lampard, holds him in high regard and believes his presence adds calmness to their dressing room.
England will need this in their camp as they look to improve on their showings of the 2018 Russia World Cup campaign. The Three Lions are winless in their last six competitive fixtures and Southgate will utilize his composure to calm the nerves in Qatar.