Jordan Pickford

Pickford reflects on U19s trip

by Ashley Houghton

Young keeper looks back on time in Belgium.

Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is keen to take the positives from England under-19’s difficult time in Belgium at the Elite Round of the UEFA under-19 European Championship in Belgium.

The Washington-born stopper was sent off after just five minutes of the young Lions’ opening game against Georgia meaning he had to sit out the draw with Belgium before he returned to keep a clean sheet against Scotland.

And, despite second place in the group not being enough for Noel Blake’s side to qualify, Pickford says he’ll reflect positively on the experience in Belgium.

“It was a good experience for me,” the 19-year-old said. “We had a training camp prior to the tournament and trained with the England under-21 ‘keepers which was a good test for me.

“I was sent off in the first game, I thought it was a bit of a ‘tough and go’ sending off and I fancy had it been in the Premier League I may have only got a yellow card.

“That’s the nature of the game though and it was good to be given my place back for the last game against Scotland.”

Pickford’s parents travelled to Belgium from the north-east to follow their son in action, though they only saw their boy for five minutes as they had to return home prior to the final group match.

“My mum and dad were over for the first two games so it was a bit of a nightmare having played only five minutes in the first game before I got sent off,” he added.

“They come over to watch me and had to return home before I played again against Scotland.”

In reflection, Pickford says he was delighted that his side remained unbeaten through the tournament, especially considering the loss of multiple senior players due to the under-20 World Cup at the end of June.

And Pickford was full of praise for the under 18’s who were promoted to Blake’s side for the tournament.

“We had nine under-18 players because of the under-20 World Cup in Turkey so it was always going to be difficult for us,” Pickford continued.

“We all got together and worked hard though, and we got a good win against Scotland to finish the tournament.”