Football

Pickford shrugs off big-money move to Everton: 'My job is just to keep the ball out of the net'

Goalkeeper Pickford stays grounded despite big-money move to Everton

GROUP A
SLOVAKIA U-21 ENGLAND U-21

England Under-21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has dismissed the pressure over his £30-million (S$53m) price tag to refocus on Euro 2017.

The 23-year-old became the world's third most expensive shot-stopper when he completed his move to Everton from Sunderland last Thursday.

He capped a stunning week with a penalty save in the Young Lions' opening 0-0 draw with Sweden at Euro 2017 in Poland last Friday.

Pickford is also now the most expensive British goalkeeper, but insists his record-breaking fee will not faze him.

He said: "It's just a number isn't it? It's my job to be a goalkeeper and keep the ball out of the net and that's what I've done.

"I've kept a clean sheet. It's just a number, it doesn't affect me. I got the deal out of the way and over the line so I could focus on the Euros.

"When I heard about it and they said they were sorting the medical so it could go through, it's nice to get it out of the way."

Pickford, who suffered relegation from the Premier League with Sunderland last season, was also due to speak to Everton boss Ronald Koeman for the first time on Saturday after his heroics the previous night.

"I've never spoken to him before. My agent did all the stuff. I'm just a lad who likes playing football. I'm not bothered about anything else," said the goalkeeper, who had a medical in Poland on Wednesday.

"He texted me wishing me good luck. I was a bit too young to see him as a player, but I heard he was a free-kick specialist and that he still takes them.

"I've heard he's a top manager and it will be good to learn under him at Everton. It's been a big couple of days, but I'll focus on that when I get back."

LATE PENALTY SAVE

Pickford's late penalty save from Sweden's Linus Wahlqvist could keep England in the tournament come the end of the week and they face Group A leaders Slovakia tonight.

Slovakia beat hosts Poland 2-1 in the late game last Friday and Pickford knows victory for Aidy Boothroyd's side in Kielce is now crucial.

"Yeah definitely. We can't put too much pressure on ourselves. Win two games. We've got Slovakia and then the hosts on Thursday in front of a packed house," he said.

"That's going to be an interesting game, but that's what we're here for. That's why we're playing big matches."

Pickford stopped Wahlqvist's attempted chipped spot-kick after the defender had been brought down by Ben Chilwell, but had planned penalty saving in training.

He added: "It's pot luck sometimes but, yes, I was confident. I held my ground and didn't dive until late.

"I've made that big save at the big moment. It's what I keep saying - I make big saves.

"I wasn't expecting one. I've been practising but big game, big moment, big save."

Leicester left back Chilwell admitted that he was relieved to have been bailed out by Pickford after his reckless tackle.

He added: "I tackled him, got up to play on and the ref had blown his whistle and pointed to the spot.

"I was baffled to be honest. I didn't know what it was for.

"So I went to the linesman and he said I didn't get the ball.

"I spoke to the ref and he said I got the ball but it was studs up. I don't think between them they knew what it was for.

"I was just praying Pickers saves it. It would have been down to me had we lost the game." - PA SPORT

OTHER GROUP A FIXTURE

  • Poland U-21 v Sweden U-21
(Tomorrow, 2.45am)
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