Jordan Pickford wants to help Everton win silverware and reach the Champions League after committing to the club for six more years.
The goalkeeper signed a new contract with Everton on Wednesday, keeping him with the Blues until 2024.
Everton last qualified for Europe’s top club competition in 2004/05, finishing fourth, though have since never emulated that season’s success. But Pickford said at a press conference today he feels the Toffees’ long-term aim must be to return to the top four, as well as ending their 23-year trophy drought:
“As a club, you want to be up there. We finished eighth last season and that wasn’t such a good season for Everton.
“We want to try and win some silverware, whether that be [the] League Cup, [the] FA Cup, whatever it’ll be and also I think we want to be finishing higher up in the table. It’ll take a lot of hard work and that’s the work we’re willing to put in as a group of lads.
“We want to be top six, maybe top seven this season, and then going forward, we’ve got to ambitious and want to be hitting the Champions League. It’s going to be a difficult road to get there but it’s something we’d want as a club.”
After joining in June 2017 from Sunderland for £30 million, then a British record fee for a goalkeeper, Pickford has since started every Premier League game for the Blues, won the club’s player of the year award last season and became England’s first-choice keeper on their way to the World Cup semi-finals.
On the contract itself, he was delighted to re-sign for Everton and said he never concerned himself with rumours linking him with moves away from Goodison Park:
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year and been a big leap for me personally. Just getting this contract signed can only put it [speculation] to bed and get the progression from myself to become better and better, and I feel that’s a great step for the club and a great direction to be heading.
“I think you see [transfer discussion] all over Twitter or Sky Sports. I don’t let it affect my performances and I just knuckle down. I had a contract with Everton and I didn’t at any time think anything other. I just worked hard.
“When I was with England, it was all about England at the time, and I came back here and it was all about getting back to work with Everton.”
On his personal aims, Pickford simply wants to keep improving as much as he can, and become the best goalkeeper he can be while at Everton.
He stressed the importance of keeping as many clean sheets as he can, though, and admitted that playing with the ball is something he’s tried to improve on at Finch Farm:
“I think it starts by keeping as many clean sheets as possible, because in the Premier League, keeping clean sheets will hopefully get you three points. I think you need to be hitting 12 to 15 clean sheets a season.
“I’ve tried to go on another level of playing out from the back again. I think I was good at it and I’m trying to get even better at it; it’s something I work on. But technically, I think you can always learn on the training pitch, but it’s just one or two per cent.
“The day before [Tuesday, September 25] we [the goalkeepers] joined in the possession [training session] as well. We get involved in that a little bit, as well as the goalkeeping, and it’s enjoyable and it’s going to help you with your feet.
“Personally, I don’t want to be saying, ‘I want to be this, I want to be that.’ I just want to be who I am and become the best I can be in myself, and I think that’ll take me to higher levels as a goalkeeper.
“I’ll never stop learning. I think it’s about maturing and getting better on that side of it.”