Gareth Southgate picks out one England star for his ‘outstanding’ Euro 2020

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final

Jordan Pickford was in superb form for England at Euro 2020 (Picture: Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate has paid tribute to England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for his ‘outstanding tournament’ at Euro 2020, after a string of fine performances silenced his critics.

Pickford was instrumental in England’s memorable run to the final and did everything he could to get his hands on the trophy at Wembley.

The Everton ‘keeper made two saves in the penalty shootout against Italy in Sunday’s final, the second from Jorginho especially excellent, but it wasn’t quite enough to win the match as England missed three of their spot-kicks.

Leonardo Bonucci’s scrambled goal in normal time was just the second that Pickford conceded over the tournament, remarkably keeping five straight clean sheets in the first five matches.

While Southgate knows there were plenty of fine performances from his men this summer, Pickford undoubtedly deserves recognition for his efforts, especially as there were doubts over whether he should even be in the team at the start of the tournament.

‘I thought he had a brilliant tournament,’ said Southgate. ‘There are a lot of players that come into that category and you don’t get to a final without so many players having played well and that’s what happened for us.

‘Jordan…the number of times I’ve sat here and his place in the team has been questioned, but he’s constantly delivered for us.

‘This tournament was his best run of performances for England. He should be hugely proud of that, to concede two goals in seven matches…

‘Our whole defence, our whole team, but the goalkeeper is a big part of that, two saves in the shootout.

England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saves a shot by Italy's forward Andrea Belotti in the penalty shootout during the UEFA EURO 2020 final football match between Italy and England at the Wembley Stadium in London on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Pickford kept out Andrea Belotti from 12 yards in the shootout (Picture: Getty Images)

‘He could do little more in terms of keeping the ball out of our net and that’s always the starting point for any goalkeeper. He had a really outstanding tournament.’

The 27-year-old’s five clean sheets was two more than any other goalkeeper at Euro 2020, although it was another stopper who won the Player of the Tournament award.

Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma saved penalties from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka to win the title for his country and was handed the award as a result.

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