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Pickford’s World Cup driving inspiration can divide the locker room

There are some footballers who look with revulsion at a silver medal. As soon as it’s placed around their necks, it’s torn off and discarded at the bottom of a gear bag or thrown away unceremoniously.

For Jordan Pickford the opposite is true with his Euro Cup runner-up gong. He has acted as a driving inspiration. On display at his parents’ home, the silver flash has been a reminder of the fantastic journey England took at their last major tournament, but also a signpost to the road yet to be traveled; The road to gold in Qatar.

“I think it’s always good to take a look. I’m positive about it, not negative,” Pickford said. “Other players don’t really like them, but I consider it a progression. You have the runners-up medal but there is a hunger to want to go for the champions medal. You know what it takes to get to the final, now what’s the next step?

“That’s what football is all about: winning. That’s why we’re in this tournament. In the last two tournaments we have failed to cross the finish line, but we have made great strides as a nation and as a group of players. The World Cup is held every four years, so there is an opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity that hopefully we can seize with both hands.”

Pickford’s hands were safe as homes last summer when England kept five clean sheets en route to the final. The England goalkeeper was also a rock in the semifinal push at the last World Cup in Russia four years ago. It seems that soccer tournaments get the best of him.

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“I think every time I put on the England shirt I play well. The buzz for me in representing your country is huge. Every time I wear that shirt I feel very proud. But tournament football is constantly in the spotlight and I feel like I will step up when asked,” said the 28-year-old.

“I’ve done very well in recent tournaments and I hope to play again in another tournament and do very well and help the team.” Pickford’s expectation, based on a meeting of the teams with the referees at the start of the week, is that there will be a crackdown on set-piece wrestling matches in the penalty area and more protection for the ‘keepers’ union. ‘ when necessary. comes to block

“I think they are a bit stricter with set pieces and defending in the box,” he said. “If I have three around me, that will be good!” The Everton goalkeeper has done his homework on the Iranian dangers, mentally haunting Porto’s Mehdi Taremi and Bayer Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun, but he has no thoughts other than a kick-off win for England on Monday night.

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“They are going to be a tough team, but we are going to be ready and prepared to win the game,” he said. “I think we’ve come a long way as a nation, especially since Russia where we got knocked out a bit early and made it to the semi-finals. We took that momentum at Euros and made it to the final.”

“We’ve tasted defeat in both, but we know what it takes to get this far. We know how difficult it is to win the World Cup, but our goal is to win the tournament. We have the capacity and mental strength in the team. All we want to do is do our best and hopefully make the nation proud.”



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