Jordan Pickford: Everyone is behind England boss Gareth Southgate

Jordan Pickford says “everyone is behind” boss Gareth Southgate and ready to “start peaking” after England’s slow start to Euro 2024.

Despite sitting atop Group C heading into Tuesday’s final match against Slovenia, there is an air of negativity and concern around one of the favourites to be crowned champions this summer.

England opened the tournament by having to dig deep for a 1-0 win against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen last Sunday, before riding their luck in a disjointed 1-1 draw against Denmark.

Gareth Southgate gesticulates towards the pitch
Gareth Southgate has been heavily criticised following the draw with Denmark (Adam Davy/PA)

Thursday’s performance was booed in Frankfurt and put the Euro 2020 runners-up under intense scrutiny, but Pickford is certain things will turnaround under Southgate.

“Everyone is behind the manager,” England’s number one said. “Everything we do in training and the meetings we have he delivers them brilliantly for us and gets us the right game plan.

“We weren’t perfect against Denmark, but that is a good feeling because we know we can improve.

“We know we have more to give in each game, so to be on four points with a lot of improvement to come isn’t a bad feeling.”

Everybody knows England need to kick on after what was arguably their poorest all-round performance at a major tournament under Southgate.

Pickford has started between the sticks in all four finals under the former England defender, who has instilled a sense of calm and confidence amid the background noise.

Declan Rice covers his face with his shirt after the final whistle of the draw with Denmark
England’s players have also been under the spotlight (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We are fine, we are chilled,” the Everton shot-stopper said. “It is tournament football, you have to enjoy the moment while you are here.

“We have got four points and we are top of the group, we are chilled. We know we can do a lot better in the games but we haven’t been beaten.

“We have the same points after two games as the last two tournaments and I would say we are calm.

“The outside noise is that we have to perform come Tuesday but there is no need to panic.

“For me personally, we know we haven’t peaked yet. The narrative is going to change when we start peaking but for now it is all about Tuesday.”

Pickford is embracing the pressure to succeed as the Euro 2020 runners-up fix their focus on Tuesday’s trip to Cologne to face Slovenia.

England are in pole position to top their pool and play a third-place side in the round of 16, whereas hosts Germany almost certainly await should they finish second.

“We want to win every game we play,” Pickford added. “It is not possible sometimes, but if you can’t win them don’t lose them.

Portugal in 2016 drew every group game and then won the tournament.

“The manager always says that you are going to have a roller coaster in tournament football, there will be high days and low days.

“But we got a point against Denmark, we are top of the group and there is no panic. We have to enjoy the pressure, enjoy the pressure of the games.”