(Reuters) - Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has worked tirelessly to improve in his debut season at the Premier League club and believes he will only get better with experience as he bids to stake a claim to be England’s No.1 at the World Cup.
Pickford joined Everton from Sunderland in the close season for a club record fee that could rise to 30 million pounds ($42.54 million) and has been ever-present this term, impressing for club and country alike with his shot-stopping ability.
"All I want to do is improve," the 24-year-old Pickford told the club website www.evertonfc.com on Tuesday. "It's not just on the training pitch, it's in the gym, too. I'm working hard to be the best I can be."
His performances have caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, with Pickford emerging as a contender to take over from the experienced Joe Hart as England’s first choice keeper at the World Cup in Russia this year.
He made his England debut in a friendly against Germany in November last year and his display in last month’s 1-0 friendly win away to the Netherlands boosted his chances and earned praise from Everton manager Sam Allardyce.
“I always give 100 percent each game. As a lad growing up, you’ve got to enjoy playing football,” Pickford said.
“As long as you give your best, that’s all you can do.”
Everton are ninth in the league with 41 points and travel to 15th-placed Swansea City on Saturday.
($1 = 0.7052 pounds)
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris