New Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has dismissed the pressure over his €34million price tag, despite becoming the world’s third most expensive keeper in history and the most expensive in British football.
The ex-Sunderland man capped a stunning week with a penalty save in England’s 0-0 draw with Sweden at the European U21 Championship in Poland on Friday.
And he insists the hefty price tag won’t influence him in the slightest.
“It’s just a number isn’t it? It’s my job to be a goalkeeper and keep the ball out of the net and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve kept a clean sheet. It’s just a number, it doesn’t affect me.
“I got the deal out of the way and over the line so I could focus on the Euros. I didn’t know too much about it until I came out here but got that done so I could focus on trying to win the Euros.
“When I heard about it and they said they were sorting the medical so it could go through, it’s nice to get it out of the way.”
Pickford, who suffered relegation from the Premier League with Sunderland last season, was due to speak to Everton boss Ronald Koeman over the weekend.
“I’ve never spoken to him before. My agent did all the stuff. I’m just a lad who likes playing football. I’m not bothered about anything else,” said the goalkeeper, who had a medical in Poland last Wednesday.
“He text me wishing me good luck. I was a bit too young to see him as a player but I heard he was a free-kick specialist and that he still takes them.
“I’ve heard he’s a top manager and it will be good to learn under him at Everton. It’s been a big couple of days but I’ll focus on that when I get back.”
Pickford stopped Linus Wahlqvist’s attempted chipped spot-kick after the defender had been brought down by Ben Chilwell but had planned penalty saving in training.
He added: “It’s pot luck sometimes but yes I was confident.
“I held my ground and didn’t dive until late. I’ve made that big save at the big moment. It’s what I keep saying – I make big saves.
“I wasn’t expecting one. I’ve been practising but big game, big moment, big save.”
Elsewhere, Southampton greats Lawrie McMenemy and Mick Channon have said that the club were wrong to sack manager Claude Puel.
Saints finished eighth in the Premier League and reached the EFL Cup final at Wembley, but a lack of goals - they scored only 17 times in 19 home league games - saw the Frenchman fired after a single season at St Mary’s.
Channon, who made over 500 appearances for the club over two spells on the south coast, believes the 55-year-old was harshly treated.
“Well I don’t think he did a bad job,” Channon said: “I don’t know the politics of it. They never scored goals, they didn’t win games at the end of the year.
“They should have won the League Cup - if they had would they have sacked him?
“It wasn’t his fault Charlie Austin was injured for most of the season.
“Why sack someone if you’ve got no-one better? Personally I think they were wrong to sack him.”
Saints were beaten 3-2 by Manchester United at Wembley, despite dominating much of the game, and McMenemy - who was manager when the club won the 1976 FA Cup - believes Puel should have been given more time.
“At Wembley we were very unlucky,” he said. “On the other hand, if you’ve been at the games, the football has not been attractive and not enough goals so the season ended on a disappointment for the supporters.
“They didn’t like the way their team played, there were too many changes for me - I read in the paper 250 changes over the season.
“In the FA Cup against a weakened Arsenal we lost 5-0 at home.
“On the last day the majority (of supporters) left and the ones that stayed didn’t applaud when the manager came out.
“Let him learn, give him an opportunity to get it right.”
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