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Jordan Pickford insists England are not looking for revenge against Italy

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Oct 2023

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Jordan Pickford will head into Tuesday’s crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy looking forward rather than back.

The Everton goalkeeper was between the posts when Italy beat England on penalties to win Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Pickford was rested for Friday’s 1-0 friendly win over Australia, but is expected to return for the visit of the Azzurri – where victory would secure Gareth Southgate’s side a place at next summer’s finals in Germany.

Since suffering Euro 2020 heartbreak, England have met Italy twice in the Nations League and also won 2-1 in Naples in the reverse qualifying fixture.

Now it is that prospect of another shot of international success – and not seeking payback for the heartache of two years ago – that Pickford insists is driving the team heading into the game.

“We know where we are in the world rankings and we know where we want to be. To do that, these are the teams you have to beat,” he said.

“I don’t think this game has anything to do with revenge. We went to Italy and made a bit of history, having gone so many years without beating them away from home.

“This is another tough game. They’ve got a new manager, played well in the last break, and we know they are a top side.

“This is all about qualifying for Germany. It’s another hurdle we have got to get past and we’ll be going for the victory.”

Pickford revealed there has never been much of a debrief on the shoot-out loss in 2021 and was more upset with the performance in last winter’s World Cup – praising England for brushing themselves off so quickly to work towards Euro 2024 qualification.

“We never really touched base on that Euro final,” he added.

“There was more disappointment in Qatar, getting beat in the quarters, and then coming back straight into two competitive games.

“That just shows you the characters we are and the type of squad and togetherness we have to beat Ukraine and then beat Italy in their own backyard in Naples in a hostile environment.

“That shows you what kind of squad we are and I think the fans love it.

“Every time we put the shirt on we wear it with massive amounts of pride.

“To beat Italy in Naples was a great feeling, but they’re coming into our backyard now and they will want revenge.

“We just want to put on a performance, be at our best, and get a result to qualify.

“They are reigning European champions and are a top side. We only focus on ourselves.

“We look at what’s in front of us and we will always back ourselves to beat any team because we are fully prepared and have a lot of experience and ability.”

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