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Jordan Pickford’s displays at Euro 2020 showed the world what Evertonians already knew

The Toffees keeper had a superb tournament which should hopefully banish the doubters forever

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final Photo by Frank Augstein - Pool/Getty Images

It just had to be penalties.

This young and inspirational England team has broken down so many barriers – on and off the pitch – over the past few weeks, but couldn’t quite make that final step.

It is an agonising, gut-wrenching end to what has been a wonderful tournament for Gareth Southgate’s side, and although the pain of the defeat still stings there is plenty to be optimistic about with just 18 months to go until the World Cup.

From an Everton perspective, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jordan Pickford have every reason to be proud of what they have achieved over the last month.

Calvert-Lewin made just two substitute appearances totalling a little over 20 minutes on the pitch, but as Harry Kane’s deputy he was well aware of his role in the squad.

Ukraine v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Quarter-final Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Southgate spoke of the team spirit shown by every member of the squad, including those who have rarely made it onto the field, if at all. The culture of the team is what makes this current side so refreshing and every player has clearly played their part.

Calvert-Lewin had not even earned a single senior cap this time last year, so he can reflect on a huge year of progress that yielded 21 goals for Everton and four goals in 11 games for the national team.

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images

Pickford meanwhile played every single minute of the Three Lions’ run to the final and finally banished any doubts surrounding his claim to the number one spot.

He had a superb tournament, conceding just two goals in seven matches. One of those was a superb 30-yard free kick while the second came after he had made a wonderful reflex save to push the ball onto the post, with Leonardo Bonucci tapping home the rebound from close range.

Pickford also made two superb stops in the shoot-out, the second from Jorginho particularly impressive.

None of this will be surprising to Evertonians given his form during the second half of the season.

There was an odd narrative peddled by some reporters after the Germany game that suggested Pickford was unloved at Everton, which explained his contrasting form when in an England shirt.

That couldn’t be further from the truth and suggested they have not been watching Everton recently (not that I can blame them to be fair).

Evertonians have been full of praise for his displays since the turn of the year and the way he coped with the backlash following October’s Merseyside derby.

There is no doubt that Pickford’s form has been erratic in the past and that has left himself open to criticism, but he had barely put a foot wrong recently.

He revealed in January that he had been spoken to a phycologist to help his game and it seems to have had a positive impact as he has looked a calm and assured presence since.

The only time he looked a touch shaky in the Euros was a 15-minute spell after Denmark had taken the lead in the semi-final, though he wasn’t the only England player to look nervous.

Overall he can reflect on a superb few weeks that has firmly established himself as an international goalkeeper of the highest quality.

A well-deserved holiday now awaits, but on his return Everton fans can take comfort from the fact that while there remain plenty of issues with the squad, goalkeeper is not one of them.