England were never favourites to win the world cup, with odds as low as 14/1 before the tournament kicked off. Now though as England prepare for their first Semi Final game since 1990 against Croatia this Wednesday, fans around the country are celebrating as the prospect of football coming home this year becomes an every increasing reality.
Jordan Pickford played for Darlington
Jordan Pickford’s name has leapfrogged into the limelight this year after his sensational performance while playing in goal for England during the 2018 world cup.
Born in Washington, just over 30 miles from Darlington, the 24 year old goalkeeper made his debut for the full England national team during a 0-0 friendly against Germany in November 2017.
At the tender age of 17, the England goalkeeper joined Darlington FC on loan in 2012.
“Playing for Darlington turned me from a kid into a man” – Jordan Pickford
He says his time at Darlington shaped his abilities, during a period where the team were struggling to even win a game. The defeats taught Pickford to perform under pressure, even in the face of defeat, improving his abilities as a goalkeeper.
In total, Jordan Pickford played for Darlington 17 times before eventually progressing onto the Sunderland first team. He now professionally plays for Everton.
Other teams Pickford has played for
Pickford began his career with Sunderland academy at the age of 8, progressing through the age groups before being promoted from the academy to the reserve team in 2011, singing his first professional contract with the team the same year.
During his time at Sunderland, Pickford was loaned out to several other teams, an experience which developed and honed his abilities and skills playing in goal. He finally made his debut for Sunderland’s first team in 2016 after refining his abilities over the years while playing for a variety of teams listed below:
- Darlington FC
- Alfreton Town
- Burton Albion
- Carlisle United
- Bradford City
- Preston North End
In June 2017, Pickford set the record for the most expensive British goalkeeper of all time after being bought by Everton for an initial price of £25 Million, with the possibility of rising to £30 million in add-ons.
Pickford was picked by England manager Gareth Southgate to play in the 2018 world cup and has played every game since. He started the opening game against Tunisia which England won 2-1, helped England win their first ever world cup penalty shootout against Columbia, and was named man of the match after England’s Quarter final 2-0 win against Sweden.
There are now just 4 teams left in the world cup which will conclude after the final on Sunday 15th July. If England win their game against Croatia on Wednesday, they will secure a place in their first world cup final in 52 years!
It’s Coming Home!