Jordan Pickford: England star makes HUGE David de Gea claim ahead of World Cup
The Everton goalkeeper says that while it took De Gea – who at 28 is four years older than him – a couple of seasons to adjust to the Premier League, he has forced his way into the England’s World Cup squad after only two campaigns in the top flight.
Pickford, who is expected to get the nod over Jack Butland for the opening group game against Tunisia, says Spain No1 De Gea, Germany star Manuel Neuer and his England predecessor Joe Hart are the goalkeepers he admires the most.
“De Gea has been unbelievable for the last two or three seasons and is probably the best in the world at the minute,” he said.
“This is only my second season in the Premier League. It took De Gea a while and I don’t think it has taken me that long to get to this level.
“Neuer is one I really admire because he plays the role in his own way. You have got to play it your own way but he takes it to the next level the way he plays. But when I was younger, it was always Harty I looked up to.
“They’re the ones who have got experience but I am always learning and always wanting to improve.”
Pickford received a boost when he was named as No1 in the official England squad list for Russia but he says Southgate has still not informed him or Butland who will play against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.
“Obviously getting the No1 jersey is massive but I’ve not been given the actual nod yet,” he added. “I still have to train well but, hopefully, playing against Nigeria in the first warm-up game has put me in pole position. There is still a lot to do before the first game.”
He insists his ability with the ball at his feet is perfectly tailored for Southgate’s demands for England to build from the back.
“I have always been confident but never arrogant. Knowing I am capable of doing it, and it is what the manager wants, does not faze me,” he said.
“It is all about game management as well and if you watch the games, I always play out at the right times. I would not take unnecessary risks and I would never try to overkill the players I am passing to.
“Against Nigeria, I played some balls out that were nice but then a couple of times I played a few longer ones which were better.
“That is the way we are going to play in the World Cup and I am very suited to that style, very capable of doing it, so I am going to do it. But it’s about when you do it.”