Declan Rice has backed Jordan Pickford to again be England’s hero as the Three Lions prepare to face Germany in the Euro 2020 round-of-16.
The Everton goalkeeper has been one of the star performers for Gareth Southgate’s side during the tournament so far, keeping a clean sheet in each of their three group games against Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic.
Any England meeting with Germany inevitably brings up memories of past penalty shootout defeats to the Germans at major international tournaments.
However, the Three Lions have enjoyed better fortunes in recent finals by beating Colombia at the 2018 World Cup and Switzerland at the 2019 UEFA Nations League.
And with Pickford being the match-winner for England in both ties, Rice has backed the Everton shot-stopper to make it a hat-trick against Germany if required when sharing his admiration for his team-mate’s recent form.
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“He’s top and I think he’s actually gone to new levels as well,” the West Ham midfielder told reporters. “He’s a keeper that’s unbelievable with his feet. He can play out, he can play the way we want to play.
“We’ve seen in tournaments he can stand up and he looks confident in himself that he can stand on the line and be the winner for us.
“I’ve seen him take penalties as well and he’s actually a very, very good penalty taker and that comes with the confidence within him.
“I read the other month that he’s been seeing a psychologist to try and improve that side of the game.
“Jord’s a top lap and all the lads really love him. He’s great to have around the place and he’s a top goalie.
“In the tournament so far, he’s made some crucial, crucial saves for us so credit to him.”