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Pickford says Everton comes before any England dreams

Young goalkeeper looking to continue building on a strong season

England v Germany - International Friendly Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Despite an excellent outing for the Three Lions during the November international break, against a rampant Germany no less, Jordan Pickford is not taking for granted that he could be on the plane to Russia this coming summer as part of the England World Cup squad.

The 23-year-old has been excellent for the Blues since his transfer, especially during the miserable start to the season when he single-handedly kept the Toffees afloat numerous times and likely saved Ronald Koeman from getting the sack even earlier.

Speaking to the media after another stellar showing this weekend when he kept a clean sheet against a marauding Chelsea side that threw the kitchen sink at him, Pickford insisted his focus is on club first, for now.

"It is still a long way to go. I have to keep putting performances in for Everton. I cannot control anything else. The main thing is making sure I am on the plane because that will be a great experience for myself.

"There is loads of competition, that is why you cannot think about that too much. You can do all the stuff on and off the pitch to get there, but the main thing is performing on a Saturday and getting clean sheets is only going to help.

"But I still feel it is a long way away and I just need to focus on grafting away and becoming better and more mature as a goalkeeper. I have made my debut, which was a dream, and if I could go to the World Cup -- I would be 24 then -- it would be a great experience.

"I always want to improve and even if that wasn't the carrot [England No. 1] then I would want to keep improving for myself. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself whereby I am thinking if I am not performing I won't be in the England squad.''

Incumbent no. 1 Joe Hart has had a very inconsistent season at West Ham United leading to his dropping, while Jack Butland has been plagued by injuries and Pickford understands that could mean more opportunities for him, starting with the international break in March.

"Yes, definitely. Hopefully when March comes round I will get an opportunity to play again.

"There are two tough games [against Netherlands and Italy] and what will be will be.

"If that is playing in a World Cup for England, that will be the best thing that has ever happened to me.''

Pickford has a strong shout for Everton’s player of the season so far, and is in the top five of just about all the goalkeeping metrics available, which makes him pretty good value for the £30 million they spent on him this summer.