Jordan Pickford ready to ‘up and take’ penalty if England-France go to quarter-final shoot-out

If Saturday’s quarter-final goes to penalties and Kylian Mbappe goes first, Jordan Pickford will look him straight in the eye. The England goalkeeper described it as “part of my process”, as he gave insight into the technique that saw him make saves in all three penalties he was involved in for the country.

Pickford also revealed that he thinks the ball is different, but went into detail, putting a different – ​​shall we say – twist on a well-worn tournament story.

“For me, the penalty shoot-out, I have my own process which I always do,” said the goalkeeper. “Every single penalty I’m facing, I’m going to do the same thing. I don’t change my process and I hope I go the right way and run the save. You can do research but it’s about doing your own process, your dive the night of the shooting.

“I just take a look at them and see how they feel. But they have their process as a penalty taker, and as a goalkeeper I have my process, and it’s who wins on that single penalty.

Pickford spoke of the research he does, which paid off in terms of penalties saved in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, but not in the result.

“It’s a World Cup, I’ll try to give as many details as I can. You want to win the game and so do we. There will be searches. But with the final of the Euros, I think you can look at the stats and saving two should win you the tournament. But this is football. It’s never what the stats say sometimes. It is something we will learn from, that defeat, and from which we hope to improve.

“I will have a little reset every time I go sideways [between penalties], but my process is still the same. I hope I don’t have to save tomorrow. Let’s hope we don’t get to penalties. We hope to win in 90 minutes. But you will see that with my process it is always the same. It never changes.

Pickford also said that he had practiced his penalty kicks himself.

“You have to be ready for anything. You can’t not practice them, she comes in and thinks I’ll be fine. I have to be ready to catch one and I have to be ready to save one.

“If it boils down to that, I’ll step up and take one, but it’s not for me to decide. It’s the calling of the manager and behind-the-scenes staff.

When asked why there had been such a high percentage of missed penalties in Qatar compared to previous World Cups, at 39%, Pickford started talking about ball difference. While he didn’t directly attribute the missed penalties to the new ball, he insisted it was more difficult to manage.

Jordan Pickford celebrates saving Jorginho’s penalty in the Euro 2020 final (Getty Images)

“Balls are a bit of a scoundrel, definitely. The balls are a little different from what I’m used to in the Premier League with the Nike ball at my club. They are definitely a little different. But I wouldn’t say so when it comes to saving a penalty. I think [Yassine] Bounou, the Morocco goalkeeper, made some excellent saves against Spain. But some people might say they weren’t so good penalties. But you still have to make that save, and I think that’s what the goalkeepers did.

When asked to provide more details on the balls, Pickford said: “They’re called Speedshells, so that’s your clue. They’re just a little different. I’m just a different ball. You personally get used to them as you play with them. You play with a Premier League ball, a Nike ball, every Premier League game and use this Adidas ball directly from the back of the Premier League ball. It always takes some adjustment with a different type of ball and a different manufacturer. But it’s something I’m used to and now it’s okay.

“I don’t know, it’s a bit weird really. It’s just a slightly different type of ball, a different brand, something you have to readjust to right away. My kick distance has always been the same, but they are a little faster. That’s all.”

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