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Jordan Pickford says it will be a privilege to play against Manuel Neuer – and hopes to grab his German counterpart’s shirt after their last 16 showdown at Euro 2020.
The England goalkeeper admits he is a huge admirer of Neuer – a world champion and serial-winner with Bayern Munich – and is excited to come up against him in a mammoth clash at Wembley next Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, Pickford said: “His career has been unbelievable, probably up there with the top three best goalkeepers of the last decade.
“A sweeper keeper, he’s not shy is he? He’s a brilliant goalkeeper, I love watching him on TV and it will be a privilege to be playing against him.
“I’ll ask him for his shirt… If COVID lets us!
“It’s about first and foremost getting the win against them and then being able to do that after.”
Pickford has yet to concede a goal for England at Euro 2020, but knows he’s in for an almighty test against the Germans.
“We know they’re a top side and how hard their group we was,” he said.
“We know the quality that Germany have and it’s up to us to be prepared the best we can be against them.”
England vs Germany clashes usually means penalty drama – Italia 90 and Euro 96 still give Three Lions fans nightmares.
And while Pickford would prefer to win in 90 minutes, he and his teammates are ready for a shootout if needed.
He added: “It would be lovely to beat them in 90 minutes but we’ve got to be prepared for anything. That’s what we’re trained for, that’s we’re preparing for all week.”
With COVID restrictions eased, 40,000 fans will be inside Wembley on Tuesday and Pickford is anticipating an incredible atmosphere having spent the majority of the past year playing behind closed doors.
“It’s tough not been having fans and then all of a sudden having 8,000 at Middlesbrough, then going into 22,500 at Wembley, it just feels like a full stadium,” he said.
“We were talking about the national stadium, with having fans back, it’s hairs on the back of your neck, the shivers and all that come back and the pride you get off that is amazing.
“To be doubling the capacity on Tuesday, I don’t know what it is going it sound like… it’s going to be incredible.”
Beat Germany and England fans will be dreaming of European glory, especially with the Three Lions being on the more favourable side of the draw.
England won’t be getting ahead of themselves but if they do lift the Henri Delaunay trophy on July 11 then it’ll be some celebration from Pickford, who says he’ll join Jack Grealish on holiday in Las Vegas and officially ‘get the rave on’.
When asked what he’ll do if England win Euro 2020, Pickford said: “Wouldn’t you like to know?
“Three weeks in Vegas with Jack… it would be a great experience and I’d be definitely getting the rave on for a good spell!”
Pickford, meanwhile, insists his sole focus is on England despite the uncertainty surrounding his club, Everton.
The Toffees have been without a manager since Carlo Ancelotti suddenly left to make a return to Real Madrid earlier this month.
They appeared to be getting former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo but talks broke down.
Everton have since been linked with ex-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, however, those reports have not gone down well with the Goodison Park faithful.
When asked about what’s going on at his club, Pickford told talkSPORT: “I’m solely focused on England.
“I know we haven’t got a manager with Carlo going to Real Madrid but my sole focus is on England and being there for England. That’ll take care of itself.”
England vs Germany is live on talkSPORT next Tuesday, kick-off 5pm