Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is embracing the competition from Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale to be England number one, insisting it ‘brings out the best in us’.
Pickford has been England’s first choice goalkeeper since 2018, but Ramsdale has emerged as a genuine alternative in recent weeks thanks to impressive form since joining Arsenal in the summer and displacing Bernd Leno as number one there.
Ramsdale, while still uncapped at senior level, returned to the squad last month after being an emergency replacement during Euro 2020. He said upon his recall then that he has the ‘self belief’ to become England’s starter and hold down the position.
Gareth Southgate also recently admitted ‘there's a there's a fight on’ after naming the November squad: “We've got competition for places and we need competition places in every position. Aaron and Sam [Johnstone] are definitely providing that to Jordan.”
Pickford insists he is happy to have Ramsdale breathing down his neck for the gloves, describing the Arsenal star as a ‘great lad’ ahead of this week’s World Cup qualifier against Albania.
“I’m delighted that he’s flying. I see the games and he’s making worldies against Leicester! But that’s what you want. He’s your team-mate, he’s your friend,” Pickford told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“You don’t want them not going well, you want them to be in a good moment. I think that’s what we all want as a nation – people doing well for each other. Definitely, the same for Sam [Johnstone]. We’re playing for one badge, which is England.
“We get on really well, we train really hard and we push each other in training. And it just brings out the best of us. If we play or we don’t play we’re going back to our clubs having a successful week with England and being in the right frame of mind when we’re at our clubs.”