Jordan Pickford could break England clean sheet record that has stood since 1966 on Wednesday
The Everton goalkeeper was frozen out of his club side just a year ago but now stands on the brink of history
Pickford was by no means the first name on the team sheet in 2020 (Photo: PA)
Jordan Pickford can write his way into England’s record books on Wednesday less than a year after he was battling to save his club career.
The Everton keeper was under pressure at Goodison for much of last season after some indifferent form, and high-profile errors, saw him axed by then manager Carlo Ancelotti.
But his impressive form during the summer Euros has continued into the new campaign and two World Cup qualifying wins that have England on the brink of reaching the 2022 Finals.
England have also kept 11 clean sheets in 2021 – equalling the old record for most in a calendar year set in 1966 – with Pickford involved in eight of them.
And another in Poland on Wednesday will see Pickford help set a new national record – a far cry from his travails last season.
“I would say that was something new for me,” said Pickford. “I remember it was the first game against Newcastle that I missed in the Premier League since I got to Everton, but I took it that the manager was doing it for the right reasons.
“He was not doing it to criticise me or forcing me to improve.
“I have spoken previously about using a psychologist and stuff and getting better with different aspects of being the best I can be.
“It was all from last season to be honest, it was a new process for myself to be the best Jordan Pickford I can be and that is all I want to be, to be honest, in different aspects.
“I had a couple of injuries last year which wasn’t ideal but it gave me that opportunity to work hard with the staff and come back and I think I have been doing well since then and taken it into the Euros.”
Along with his team-mates, Pickford is also keen to make amends for the disappointment of the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, one made all the more painful as it came via a penalty shoot-out.
“To win tournament football, the percentage is you’ve got to win a penalty shoot-out and we just came short of that against Italy,” he said.
“But as players, as a squad and as a nation it just drives us on to to do better and go to that World Cup and try to win it.
“I think a perfect example it France. They came runners up in the 2016 Euros and then went and won the World Cup, so those painful defeats, you’ve got to take as a learning curve and be better for the next one.”