Jordan Pickford eyes England U21s debut at Preston

Wednesday 02 Sep 2015
Jordan Pickford in training with England Under-21s this week
Jordan Pickford will be on familiar territory this Thursday as part of the England Under-21s squad who start their season against USA in Preston.

The goalkeeper is on loan at Deepdale from Sunderland and has enjoyed his start to life in Lancashire so far this term.

And he’s hoping to be in Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up to make his U21 debut and add to the caps he’s previously picked up at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 level over the last few years.

England v USA

International Match
7.45pm, Thursday 3 September 2015
Deepdale, Preston North End FC
Live on BT Sport
Tickets £10 adults, £5 concessions

"I’ve been all the way through and over the years, we’ve had really good keepers in the U21s so for me to come through and get into the squad is something that I’ve always wanted to do," said Pickford.

"I’ve played for the other year groups, but U21s is the main one that you really want to do before it all comes down to it.

"To make my debut for the U21s would be an honour, a massive privilege and all of the hard work over the years has paid off."

Pickford’s spell at Deepdale is the latest in a string of loans which have seen him take climb step-by-step up the leagues.

The 21-year-old has featured in non-League, League Two and League One over the last few years and he’s now enjoying his first taste of the Championship.

"Every loan I’ve been on, I’ve benefited from and I haven’t been put out on loan just to be out of the door," he revealed.

"It’s helped me to progress and also to mature. As a keeper, it’s about managing the game and that comes with experience really so it’s helped me massively at each club that I’ve been to.

"I’m still only 21, but for a keeper I’ve played quite a few League games which has been pleasing. 

England Under-21s keeper Jordan Pickford lines-up a kick in training.

Pickford and the squad have been working hard at St. George's Park

"It’s all good experience and I’m getting better and better. The best thing I can be doing is playing league football week in and week out, there’s nothing better than that. 

"To be in the Championship from League One last season, it’s another stepping stone for the future for me and hopefully it puts me in good stead as I can concentrate on Preston and keep putting in good performances.

"I think I’ve started off quite well, so I just want to keep getting better and better and it should take care of itself."

And after helping North End to a solid start on their return to the second tier this season, Pickford is hoping the feel-good factor at the club can help increase the home cheer for the Three Lions.

"I’ve only played a few games there at the minute, but the fans have been really good," he added.

"We get good crowds at Deepdale and the away fans have been great too, so to make my [U21s] debut there would be great.

"The fans have been really supportive since I’ve been here, during the games and on Twitter and everyone that I’ve spoken to in the street.

"So if we can get the numbers down, that would be perfect."

Tickets for Thursday’s game game are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and two children) costing £20 and group bookings of 15+ working out at £5 for adults and £1 for children.

Season ticket holders at Deepdale can also claim half price tickets and concessions for U18s, over 65s and students (on production of valid ID) are £5. Call 0844 856 1966 for details or e-mail: ticketoffice@pne.com

By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park