England’s Jordan Pickford adamant Newcastle gaffes were an aberration

Dominic Fifield

Jordan Pickford has defended his form before England’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday and said his error-strewn display at Newcastle, when he allowed the occasion “to get to me a little bit too much”, did not reflect recent performances for Everton.

The goalkeeper conceded a penalty at St James’ Park – which he saved – before shipping three times in the second half. The 25-year-old had appeared to play up to the crowd, who subjected him to incessant reminders of his Sunderland roots.

“With me being a Sunderland lad, in front of 52,000 Newcastle fans hurling abuse at you for the full game, maybe it did get to me a little bit too much,” said Pickford, who has kept three clean sheets in his past four games. “But I’m only 25 and, as a learning curve for me, that’s how I can improve. Next time I go there, I won’t be getting involved as much.

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“Apart from the Newcastle game, I’ve been doing well and I think I bounced back from that with a solid performance against Chelsea. That shows my mentality and my character, and the manager has put his faith in me to start against Czech Republic. Since the World Cup, I’ve seen the good side, getting rounds of applause in stadiums. That’s different class, and what the England squad have hopefully done for the nation. But I won’t be getting that at Newcastle ever. That’s something I’ve got to deal with.”

A sold-out Wembley will pay tribute to Gordon Banks, the World Cup winner who died last month at the age of 81. His family will attend in the royal box, along with representatives from Stoke, with a donation to be made to the Gordon Banks in Safe Hands Children’s Hospital Fund and Alzheimer’s UK.

Pickford received a written message from Banks before last summer’s World Cup in Russia. “He sent all the goalkeepers a message,” he said. “Every player got a message from a different former player in their position – it was a really nice touch. What a legend of a goalkeeper he was. With his family there, and a minute’s applause, hopefully it’ll be a special night and I keep a clean sheet for him.”