England might be out of the reckoning for the World Cup trophy, but Everton goalkeeper and the Three Lions’ #1 Jordan Pickford is still hungry for the Golden Glove award given to the best netminder of the global showcase.
“Hopefully I will get the nod against Belgium. I’d love to get the goalkeeper of the tournament. But we came to win this tournament. We can’t do that now but we want to finish third. It will be a tough test against Belgium again.
“Of course it will be hard to get ourselves up for it. That’s where character comes in. It’s another chance to show our togetherness. We want to finish a great tournament on a high. We can’t finish the best team in the world but we can still be the third best.”
Pickford was especially proud of how the England fans had rallied behind the team -
“My overriding thoughts right now is that we did ourselves proud. The country believes in us again. Beforehand, I don’t think they were expecti1ng too much from us. Now they have seen the character there is in this squad. They can see we are capable of progressing.
“It was really moving. At 12.45am the fans are still out there chanting. That got to me. It shows how far we’ve come.”
The 24-year-old is in contention for the honor after making what is arguably the save of the tournament on Mateus Uribe to preserve England’s lead against Colombia -
WE HAVE A REPLAY I REPEAT WE HAVE A REPLAY pic.twitter.com/PSVvpMMXde— Michael (@greenallefc) July 3, 2018
Despite that save, Pickford personally felt the penalty save in the same game against Carlos Bacca was his biggest moment -
“My most abiding memory has got to be the penalty save against Colombia. It felt big at the time and it still feels big now. We won a shootout. And we won a knockout game.
“The other one is that I know I have played well in the tournament. But above all this World Cup was about a group of lads embracing every moment, enjoying ourselves and doing ourselves justice.
“Unfortunately, we just came up a bit short.
The goalie came up big again during a crucial moment against Croatia, saving at point-blank range from Mario Mandzukic -
“It was a decent save. I thought that might be the turning point for us. But unfortunately Croatia just kept coming at us. We weathered a lot of storms out there.
“It was incredible considering they had just played a couple of two hour games plus penalties. They were very, very fit. But the country believes in us again.
“Beforehand, I don’t think they were expecting too much from us. Now they have seen the character there is in this squad. They can see we are capable of progressing.”
On his own development over the month -
“I just feel I can get better all the time.
“Playing in this tournament can only help. The more experiences like this the more you I’m going to improve.”
With nothing to play for on Saturday, it is expected Gareth Southgate will give some playing time to substitute goalies Jack Butland and Nick Pope, which might keep Pickford from becoming the best goalie of the tournament, though some of is saves will live on in Three Lions and World Cup lore.