'I'm not a normal lad, I'm an England footballer' - Pickford looking to continue growth as a man and player

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After a testing season in the public eye, the goalkeeper says he has "become a man" and is primed to become better and better

Jordan Pickford believes his realisation he is no longer a "normal lad" has helped him mature and cement his position as England's first-choice goalkeeper.

After a superb World Cup in Russia last year, Pickford's form for club side Everton during the 2018-19 season came under scrutiny.

He also made headlines off the pitch in early April after footage emerged on social media showing him involved in a fracas outside a bar in his hometown of Sunderland.

The 25-year-old ended his season on a high, however, keeping five clean sheets in the Toffees' last seven Premier League games.

He followed that with a starring role in England's third-place finish in the Nations League, scoring and saving a penalty as Gareth Southgate's side beat Switzerland 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in their play-off on Sunday.

Pickford is determined to remain grounded despite his rapid ascent in the game but he believes a better understanding of his status as one of English football's most high-profile names is helping his development.  

"I think the main thing about it is that I am a normal lad but then sometimes you have got to realise you are not a normal lad; you are an England footballer," he told a media conference.

"I just want to be a normal lad, but you have got to realise in certain situations that you can't be. You learn from everything, how to become a man and grow.

"So, you move on from that and after that incident I pushed on at the end of the season and got a lot of clean sheets. It just shows my character."

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Asked if he was growing into the role of Gareth Southgate's undisputed first-choice goalkeeper, Pickford added: "Yeah, I think you always learn and mature in every game, whether it is club or international level.

"I think I started on the front foot and there has been a lot of pressure, but I don't feel pressure. I just want to go and express myself and do the best for the nation and for the team.

"I don't feel any pressure and just feel I can get better to better."

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