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Jordan Pickford insist England must embrace being among Euro 2024 favourites

Jordan Pickford insists England must enjoy the pressure of being among the tournament favourites at Euro 2024.

The Everton goalkeeper is heading into his fourth major tournament as Gareth Southgate's first choice between the posts.

The 30-year-old has amassed 61 caps and retained the belief of Southgate throughout the previous three competitions.

Pickford was part of the team who reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, the Euro 2020 final and the quarter-finals in Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.

With the likes of Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Harry Kane among their ranks, England are being talked about as one of the nations who could lift the European Championship trophy in Berlin on July 14.

"There was no pressure on us in Russia in 2018," he said. "To be a top, elite team you have got to have pressure. You have got to deal with it. To be one of the favourites, you have got to enjoy that pressure.

"It is always exciting to be part of England in a major tournament. A lot of hard work behind the scenes, I've got to keep performing for the club which I think I have done. I've won 61 caps which is a major honour and to be in my fourth tournament."

England's last warm-up friendly ahead of Euro 2024 was a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Iceland, meaning Southgate's side have kept just two clean sheets in their last seven games.

Pickford is keen to improve that recent record and feels it could be imperative if England are to go deep into the tournament in Germany.

"We've played some top opponents," he added. "Clean sheets are key. To get to a final, to win a tournament you have got to have a good clean sheet record.

"Or as Margs (Martyn Margetson), the goalkeeping coach says, 'zeros and ones gets you so far'.

"For us, it's about getting as many clean sheets as we can because everybody in the room knows the ability we have up top.

"The most important thing for us is to win the first game, get out of the group, game by game focus on each game as it comes because you can't look too far ahead.

"Everyone's goal is to lift that trophy but it takes a hell of a lot of hard work to get there. There'll be nothing more proud to lift that trophy and to bring it home for the fans but there is so much hard work to do first.

"You can't look too far ahead but I know all the England fans will be rooting for us. They are passionate, everywhere in the country will be rooting for us and they'll be having a good few days on the booze so it'll be good."

Asked about the specific challenge on beating Serbia, Pickford added: "We know they are a big side.

"Aleksandar Mitrovic up top is a quality player. I played against him a lot of times in the Premier League.

"We've just got to be ready for them and every individual role, we've got to be prepared and do our best to keep them at bay."

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