Jordan Pickford dismissed criticism of his form as the under-fire goalkeeper prepares to start England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Czech Republic.
Having starred during the Three Lions’ run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer, things have gone somewhat awry for the Everton shot-stopper this term.
There have even been questions on whether Pickford should remain as England’s number one in the wake of the Sunderland fan’s error-riddled display in a 3-2 defeat to Newcastle.
But manager Gareth Southgate Southgate is sticking with the 25-year-old for Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czechs, which the goalkeeper approaches untroubled by talk surrounding his performances.
“It’s great for me,” Pickford said after getting the nod.
“I feel like, apart from the Newcastle game, I’ve been in a good run of form.
“In the Newcastle game, I made a mistake and bounced back with a good performance against Chelsea, so that shows my mentality and my character in myself, and I think that’s been good for me.
“The manager has put faith in me to start tomorrow. I’ve been training well all week as well, so that’s good.”
Pickford will be hoping to have little to do against the Czechs, whose striker Matej Vydra made headlines by publicly pinpointing defender Harry Maguire as England’s weak link.
“No (I have not seen the comments),” the goalkeeper said.
“I think as a squad we know how good we are and how capable we are of winning games.
“They can say things, but we need to focus on ourselves and get those three points tomorrow. It’s all about us and not about their comments.
“It’s obviously been four months since we’ve been with England now, and it’s great to come back here and work with the manager and the staff over the next week.
“It’s great to be (together) and we always want to improve as a unit and as a squad.
“We do that every day on the training pitch and when it comes to game day, we’re ready to get the win.”
Kicking off Group A with a victory against the Czech Republic has been made tougher by a string of absentees, with Thursday seeing Marcus Rashford become the sixth player to withdraw from the squad.
Jadon Sancho looks set to replace him on Friday but fellow teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi has impressed since being brought in as an injury replacement at the start of the week.
“He’s been top drawer in training,” Pickford said of the 18-year-old, who has yet to start a league match for Chelsea.
“He’s come straight into the side, into the training side, and he’s been very good for us, just like Jadon did when he first came into the set-up.
“It’s great to see there’s a great pathway for the young English lads to come in and have the opportunity.”