Jordan Pickford says he is ready for an “exciting time” for him and for Everton after signing a five-year deal with the Blues for a Club-record fee.
The highly-rated goalkeeper has moved to Goodison Park from Sunderland after the first and only negotiations commenced between Everton and the north east club last weekend. A deal was agreed quickly and harmoniously, enabling talks to then begin with the player.
The £25m fee for the 23-year-old could rise to £30m depending on team and individual performances – a British record and third highest fee in the world for any player in that position.
Pickford, who has represented England at every level from Under-16s to Under-21s and received his first call-up to the senior squad in October, was shortlisted for PFA Young Player of the Year last season despite Sunderland’s relegation from the Premier League.
The keeper revealed he was looking forward to getting started at “massive club” Everton – and boosting the Blues with “match-winning saves”.
Speaking to evertonfc.com while on England Under-21 duty in Poland ahead of the European Championships, he said: “It’s great to sign for the Club. Last season was my first in the Premier League so to get this opportunity with Everton now, to be able to go forward with my career and show everyone what I can do with Everton is unbelievable.
“It’s a great club, a massive club and I think it’s a great opportunity and the right time for me to come to Everton and show what I can do.
“This is an exciting time for the Club and for me, too, with the ambition being shown. I just want to be the best I can be to help.
“I know Mason (Holgate – his England Under-21 teammate) and a few of the other lads at Everton from younger age groups and the Club’s only going forward, so it’s the best thing I can be doing.
“I remember playing (at Everton) on my first game back from injury last season for Sunderland. When I came out for the second half the fans gave me a clap and applauded then so I can’t wait to get out there on the pitch at Goodison.
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“I’ve just got to show people what I can do, keep training and working hard and when it comes to game day, produce what I can do – making match-winning saves, showing what my distribution is like and making the right saves at the right times.”
Pickford admitted he was looking forward to working with Ronald Koeman, and the Toffees manager spoke of the importance of signing the Sunderland Academy graduate.
“I’m really pleased we’ve made what I’m sure will be a significant signing for Everton Football Club,” said the Dutchman.
“Jordan is a very talented young professional who also has a real hunger for success, and that’s important for us as we now look to make further progress in the seasons ahead.
“We’ve seen the quality he has through his performances in the Premier League last season and, given his young age, we’re sure he will get even better. I’m looking forward to welcoming Jordan to the group next month and wish him every success with the England Under-21 squad in Poland.”
Pickford, who made his first-team debut for Sunderland in January 2016, hopes joining Everton can help him break into the senior England team next season. But first he is looking forward to tasting European football as the Blues prepare for the start of their Europa League campaign on 27 July.
“It will be a great experience, (with me) only being young, but it’s another test for me and I feel ready for it,” added the shot-stopper. “The Europa League will be a big tournament, as well.
“I’ve got the Under-21s tournament now, which is massive for me and the group of lads I’m with. Hopefully I can be the best I can be and it can put me in good stead for next season to try to get into the senior team.”