England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has insisted that leaving Everton during the summer transfer window was never an option, despite reported interest from Chelsea. 

The former Sunderland goalkeeper, who ​signed a new and improved contract at Goodison Park this week that will keep him at the club until 2024, denied that the interest from other clubs ever made him consider leaving Merseyside and claimed that the speculation did not affect his performances. 

He said, as quoted by Goal: "You've just got to keep performing and put that to the back of your mind. You just don't let it affect you - even if you see speculation. I just knuckle down and focus on my game, that's how I do it. 

"I knew I had a contract with Everton and I didn't at any time think anything other."

Now established as England's first choice goalkeeper after impressing during the summer's World Cup, Pickford first attracted attention after coming through the youth system at Sunderland, a club that is still close to his heart. 

In quotes published by the Mirror, he revealed: "If I didn't come to Everton I think I would have been with Sunderland - that's my hometown club and if this wasn't here I probably would have been there still." 

Settled at Everton, 24-year-old Pickford also revealed that he is aiming high with the Toffees, as he name ​Champions League football among his ambitions.

He added: “As a club, you want to be up there and I think you have to be ambitious and want to be hitting the Champions League. 

"Personally, I want to keep learning and getting better, but collectively as a group of lads, we want some silverware, whether that is League Cup, FA Cup or whatever. 

England v Spain - UEFA Nations League A

"We also want to be finishing higher up the table. We finished eighth last season and that wasn’t such a good season for Everton. We want to be top six or top seven this season."