Pickford: Everyone is behind coach

BLANKENHAIN: Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (pic) says “everyone is behind” manager Gareth Southgate and ready to “start peaking” after England’s slow start to Euro 2024.

Despite sitting atop Group C heading into tomorrow’s final match against Slovenia, there is an air of negativity and concern around one of the favourites to be crowned champions this summer.

England opened the tournament by having to dig deep for a 1-0 win against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen last Sunday, before riding their luck in a disjointed 1-1 draw against Denmark.

Thursday’s performance was booed in Frankfurt and put the Euro 2020 runners-up under intense scrutiny, but Pickford is certain things will turn around under Southgate.

“Everyone is behind the manager,” England’s number one said. “Everything we do in training and the meetings we have he delivers them brilliantly for us and gets us the right game plan.

“We weren’t perfect against Denmark, but that is a good feeling because we know we can improve.

“We know we have more to give in each game, so to be on four points with a lot of improvement to come isn’t a bad feeling.”

Everybody knows England need to kick on after what was arguably their poorest all-round performance at a major tournament under Southgate.

Pickford has started between the sticks in all four finals under the former England defender, who has instilled a sense of calm and confidence amid the background noise.

“We are fine, we are chilled,” the Everton shot-stopper said. “It is tournament football, you have to enjoy the moment while you are here.

“We have got four points and we are top of the group, we are chilled. We know we can do a lot better in the games but we haven’t been beaten.

“We have the same points after two games as the last two tournaments and I would say we are calm.

“The outside noise is that we have to perform come Tuesday but there is no need to panic.

“For me personally, we know we haven’t peaked yet. The narrative is going to change when we start peaking but for now it is all about Tuesday.”

Pickford is embracing the pressure to succeed as the Euro 2020 runners-up fix their focus on Tuesday’s trip to Cologne to face Slovenia. — dpa

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