James: ‘Outstanding’ Pickford is England’s key man at Euros

James Holland
Jordan Pickford England David James F365

Former England number one David James says the ‘outstanding’ form of Jordan Pickford is a huge part of the Three Lions’ success.

Gareth Southgate’s men reached the quarter-finals of the Euros on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Germany at Wembley.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane were on the scoresheet in an historic win which sparked wild scenes across the country.

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Pickford pulled off some vital saves during the match and has received praise from former Liverpool shot-stopper James.

Speaking to the PA news agency, James said: “I think he’s been fabulous.

“It makes me laugh that people are talking about mistakes in the Premier League back in December and August. Hang on a minute, we’re talking about now…

“He’s been outstanding. He hasn’t really made a mistake, he hasn’t put us under any pressure and he’s been exactly what you want from a goalie in a major tournament.”

Pickford became the first keeper in history to keep clean sheets in the first four games of a European Championship.

He did well to close down the angle against Thomas Muller, preventing the Bayern star from making it 1-1.

James continued: “When Muller got through it was a prime opportunity to do something reckless, to keep running out and try to anticipate Muller but he didn’t, he held his ground and it took a lot of composure.

“He looks a much more assured goalkeeper, he’s calm and composed. He looks happy, he doesn’t look wound up, and that breeds confidence in the players in front of him.”

England are now favourites to win the tournament due to their favourable draw.

They face Ukraine in the quarters on Saturday evening, before potentially taking on the winners of Czech Republic v Denmark in the semis.

When asked about their chances, James added: “My saying at the moment is that England are champions until someone beats us.

“There’s a bit of England fan in there but there’s a lot of belief. There’s no reason why not – all they need to do is win three games and they’re champions.”

However, the Three Lions should not underestimate their opponents this weekend.

Andriy Shevchenko has the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Roman Yaremchuk at his disposal in Rome.