Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has established himself as one of the best glovemen in Europe. He shares his thoughts in an exclusive chat with KickOff on the 2019/20 season and who are the most exciting players he has shared the field with.
How much are you looking forward to this forthcoming season with Everton?
This is my third season at Everton and I’m going into it with a real sense of optimism. We want to finish as high as pos- sible every season. All we can do is win as many games as we can and I know it’s a cliché but take each game as it comes.
We are ambitious and have made some strong signings over the summer. You’ve got to create momen tum throughout the season and keep that going.
To start the Premier League season without a defeat was a real positive for us and we can now build on our opening day draw at Crystal Palace, which is never an easy place to get a result.
We got a clean sheet at Selhurst Park – our seventh in nine Premier League matches, stretching back to the end of last season – and that defensive solidity gives us a great base to build on.
Our forward players will know that if we’re strong at the back, they have the freedom to go and score goals.
What will the off-season signings bring to Everton?
Andre Gomes returning on a permanent basis following a successful spell on loan from Barcelona last season was a great boost and he is a fantastic signing for the club. Everyone who watched our games last season could see what he adds to our midfield, especially moving forward with the ball.
Fabian Delph brings experience of winning things after back-to-back Premier League titles with Manchester City – he was always a tough opponent to play against so it will be nice to have him in our team this season!
Jonas Lossl has settled into the squad fantastically well since moving from Huddersfield and, in the final week of the transfer window, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Moise Kean, Djibril Sidibe and Alex Iwobi all joined the squad too, having played for some big clubs across Europe.
We are excited to play alongside these players and it is great for the morale of the team when you see top players being recruited.
Fabian Delph is a player you know well from the England squad. What are his qualities?
Yes, Fabian is a winner and trains and plays with a real desire to succeed. He is a vocal lad. He is one of the leaders in the group with England and has captained the side, which tells you an awful lot about his character.
He adds more experience to our squad, we have a lot of young players and having that extra bit of know-how is vital. As a midfielder, he gets on the ball on the half-turn and his first thought is to look forward. He brings a lot more to our attack and I think he will be great for us.
Away from the pitch, who’s the biggest joker in the Everton team?
We have a great dressing room. There are a couple of funny lads, but Tom Davies is always joking so I would have to say him!
Looking at your career, what would you say is the best game you’ve ever played in?
It’s got to be one of the England games at the World Cup last summer. Maybe the Colombia match in the last-16 stage because of the various emotions that we went through in that game.
Big Yerry Mina, who is here at Everton now, popped up to score a headed equaliser in the last minute to force extra time so to then get through that match, win on penalties and make a bit of history with England...it was really special.
Who is the toughest player you’ve ever played against? There are some top-drawer finishers out there, the likes of
Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero in the Premier League. But when Eden Hazard is on his A-game, I would have to say he is right up there as the best player I have been on a pitch with.
What is your biggest achievement in football so far?
Becoming England’s goalkeeper. It was a dream to play for my country and having the chance to wear the number one jersey is great!
Years from now, what would you like to be remembered for at Everton?
In the future, I’d like to be remembered for my passion when wearing the Everton badge. Hopefully, helping to win some silverware for the club, too. To win a trophy with Everton would be incredible.