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PREMIER LEAGUE

Jordan Pickford: "Chelsea interest never swayed me to leave Everton"

Chelsea interest never swayed me – Pickford

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Speculation linking Jordan Pickford with a move from Everton to Chelsea never swayed the Toffees' goalkeeper, who has signed a new contract.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said he was unaffected by speculation linking him with a move away from Goodison Park before he signed a new contract with the club. The England international agreed a new six-year deal with the Toffees just over a year after becoming the most expensive British goalkeeper of all-time when he moved to Merseyside from Sunderland for £30million.

Pickford's outstanding performances for the Three Lions at the World Cup in Russia led to reports that Chelsea wanted to take him to Stamford Bridge before the season began, but he told reporters that his commitment to the club never wavered.

Everton's Jordan Pickford.

Pickford focused on the job in hand

"You've just got to keep performing and put that to the back of your mind," Pickford said of the rumours that he might have left the club. "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. 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."

Pickford's performances in 2017-18 were vital to Everton's late surge up the table to finish in eighth place after a tumultuous campaign. His consistency earned him a full England debut in November 2017 and by the end of the season he was Gareth Southgate's first choice goalkeeper.

Pickford with Arsenal's Petr Czech

Learning curve at Goodison

Reflecting on his time at Goodison Park, Pickford said: "To come to Everton, with the progression I have made within a year, gave me the opportunity to be the number one for England at the World Cup and it's great, but now the next step is to become even better - better for me, better for the club and better for England. I don't think anyone is ever established as anything. I think for me I've just got to keep working hard at Everton, being a match winner for Everton, and hopefully that will take care of England."

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