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Ambitious Pickford aiming high at Everton

The Toffees’ new goalkeeper reveals his international ambitions

KRC Genk v Everton: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Andy Astfalck/Getty Images

Jordan Pickford is confident of making an early impact at Everton and hopes his displays will earn him regular place in the England side.

Pickford joined the Toffees from relegated Sunderland for a club record £30m earlier this summer.

The 23-year-old is expected to make his competitive debut against MFK Ruzomberok in the Europa League on Thursday.

Pickford missed last week’s first leg at Goodison after returning to pre-season training late following his participation the European U21 Championships.

The young goalkeeper played a key role in England’s run to the semi-finals in Poland, including saving a penalty in their opening group game against Sweden.

Reflecting on the experience Pickford told the official site he’s hopeful it will make him a better player.

“Playing tournament football will stand me in good stead for the future.

“In the first game against Sweden I did not really have anything to do - but I made a penalty save.

“That is what I am there to do, make big saves at big times. It is hard these days to gain experience and I was lucky enough to get the number one shirt this summer.

“It was down to me to keep hold of it and do as well for the lads as I could. It will all help for the future.”

Pickford makes no secret of his desire to become a full England international but is not getting ahead of himself.

He remains focused on hitting the ground running at Goodison before looking too far ahead.

“I have to get the number one jersey for Everton first. I want to keep playing and getting better and better – and getting as many clean sheets and wins as we can.

“As long as I keep playing well for Everton that is the main thing.”

When quizzed further on his England ambitions, Pickford reveals he is keen to follow the route taken by West Ham’s new signing Joe Hart.

Like Pickford, Hart enjoyed several loan spells at lower division clubs before establishing himself in the Manchester City side and later the England team.

“I actually got his shirt when I was a young player at Sunderland.

“Two youth team players help in the changing room every week and I made sure I would be down for that game.

“I looked up to him because of the path he took to the top. He was not really a ‘hero’ of mine, or anything like that - it was more that he was a role model for me to follow.

“Growing up I really admired Peter Schmeichel – and Thomas Sorensen when he was at Sunderland.

“I do want to be England ‘keeper one day. I have been in the squad a couple of times and Joe has helped me massively. I am still young and learning… and will always be learning.”