Belfast Telegraph

Jordan Pickford – Everton want to finish in top six

England goalkeeper sets target ahead of new Premier League campaign.

Jordan Pickford is targeting a top-six finish with Everton this season as the England goalkeeper looks set to stay put at Goodison Park.

The 24-year-old enjoyed a stellar World Cup with the Three Lions, starring in the penalty shoot-out win over Colombia as Gareth Southgate’s side made it to the semi-finals in Russia.

Pickford only moved to Everton last summer after impressing at Sunderland but has been heavily linked with Chelsea in recent weeks, with the future of current Blues number one Thibaut Courtois still seemingly up in the air.

But he is already pushing to be included in the Toffees’ final pre-season game against Valencia on Saturday as he returns to action earlier than anticipated and appears ready to stay at Everton amid speculation contract negotiations will open soon.

“It is a quick turnaround but I am still fresh and raring to go,” he told Press Association Sport. “I couldn’t go straight back into it so I had a little break and I will go back in on Friday and get cracking and see how I feel – maybe see if the gaffer will let me have a bit of game-time on Saturday.

“I just love playing football. I’m a football lad.

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Pickford was joined at the event by Charlie Mulgrew and Nikita Parris amongst others

“I will go in on Friday and the first thing I will do is ask for some game-time on Saturday, hopefully to get the chance to play against Wolves the following week. I know myself that I will be more than ready so I can’t wait.”

Marco Silva replaces Sam Allardyce in the dugout heading into the new campaign and, after a false dawn last season following a summer of hefty spending, Pickford believes the signings of Richarlison and Lucas Digne can help Everton get it right this time around.

“Yes, I think it is a massive club and the club is only going in the right direction,” he said when asked if the new signings were a signal of intent.

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Pickford celebrates England’s penalty shoot out victory (Adam Davy/PA)

“We want to do better. We finished eighth last season and so we want to get better than seventh, get into the top six.

“The Premier League is a hard league and it is hard to get a win in any game, but we want to please the fans and make the fans happy and the way to do that is win games.”

Pickford struggled to put his finger on where things went wrong last season, with Ronald Koeman losing his job in October as the team struggled to provide results.

“I felt it was a weird one because a big change is either going to work or is not going to work straightaway and needs time,” he said.

“The form at the back-end of the season was very good and I think we were a top-six side. It takes a bit of time to bed in and get used to each other but hopefully this season it is going to be a lot better.”

:: Jordan Pickford was speaking at the launch of McDonald’s UK’s new football sponsorship programme which will provide over five million hours of fun football for children across the UK by 2022. For further information visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/football

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