Everton man forwards himself as surprise penalty candidate for England

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has confirmed he would be prepared to step up and take a penalty at Euro 2024 if required. 

The Three Lions are preparing for a quarter-final clash against one of the teams of the tournament in Switzerland on Saturday after scraping through their last 16 clash against Slovakia 2-1 after extra-time.

Landing on the other side of the draw from the likes of Spain, Germany, Portugal and France, England are expected to reach a second consecutive European Championships final. However, given their stuttering performances so far this summer, it might require more gruelling extra-time battles and maybe even the unbearable tension of a penalty shootout.

There’s no doubt that England have improved in shootouts under Gareth Southgate, famously beating Colombia from the spot in the 2018 World Cup round of 16, while they also beat this Saturday’s opponents on penalties to secure a bronze medal at the 2018/19 Uefa Nations League.

However, England also suffered a shootout disaster in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missing as the Three Lions lost 3-2 on penalties to Italy.

Pickford not afraid to take a penalty

Jordan Pickford of England prepares to take his penalty kick during the UEFA Nations League Third Place Playoff match between Switzerland and England at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques on June 09, 2019 in Guimaraes, Portugal.

Pickford was England’s fifth penalty taker as they beat Switzerland with a perfect 6-5 record from the spot in Guimaraes, Portugal, five years ago — following a 0-0 draw between the two sides.

Admittedly, a third-place match in the inaugural Uefa Nations League Finals doesn’t bring the same sort of pressure you’re likely to face in a similar situation at the European Championships.

That said, the Everton goalkeeper dispatched his spot-kick in style, while he is a player renowned for his ability with the ball at his feet.

Asked this week whether or not he’d fancy stepping up again if England’s quarter-final with Switzerland goes all the way, Pickford was in no doubt.

“Yes, I will step up,” he confidently declared (via the Independent).

“I’m not the manager but I will practice and I will be prepared. Everyone has got to practice because anyone can be on the pitch at any time.

“The Nations League was a tough game, it went to penalties and we know they are a very good side, they’ve just knocked out the reigning champions (Italy) and are playing some very good football.

“They aren’t going to be a team we’re taking lightly and we’re going to have to prepare fully for it and that is what we will be ready for.”

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