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 By PA Sport

England's Jordan Pickford: I'm ready to take World Cup shootout penalty

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has said he is ready to take a crucial penalty in a World Cup shootout for England and revealed that the players have had mock shootouts, with players walking from the halfway line to re-create the matchday process.

Everton's Pickford said he was as prepared to try his luck from the spot as he was to make a match-winning save.

"If I need to step up, I'll take one. I've got no issue with that," the 24-year-old at St George's Park.

"Taking the [winning] penalty or saving one, I'll be happy either way. I've never taken one in a shootout, but I'm always practising in training."

At the Under-17 World Cup in 2011, Pickford was primed to take a penalty against Argentina when manager John Peacock switched him with teammate Max Clayton.

"I was down as third to take one but the manager changed it so I dropped to seventh," he said, adding that Clayton had "smashed it over the bar."

England have suffered six defeats from seven shootouts in major tournaments over 28 years, with their solitary victory coming against Spain at Euro 96, when David Seaman saved from Miguel Angel Nadal.

At Euro 2004, England were knocked out in the quarterfinals when Portugal keeper Ricardo blocked Darius Vassell's effort and then converted one his own.

Pickford revealed that current coach Gareth Southgate's penalty preparations were well advanced, perhaps no surprise given Southgate's crucial miss against Germany at Wembley in 1996.

"Behind the scenes, we're doing a lot of work to get preparation for how we'd want to go about it," Pickford said.

"There are a lot of good penalty takers here and we've been practising the last couple of days ... it's been hard to save them.

"It's pot luck sometimes, isn't it? It's about how the taker's looking at it, body language, where his shoulders or arms are...and sometimes you've just got to pick a side, wait and attack it.

"If you get there you get there and if you don't, get the next one. If you save a couple you can be a hero, but there's no pressure on you. I've saved a few penalties, I'm good at them."

Pickford is thought to be in a straight battle with Jack Butland to start in Russia, backed up by uncapped Nick Pope, and will be hoping to get the nod against Nigeria in England's penultimate warmup game on Saturday.

"None of us know yet," he said.

"We work hard on the training pitch, me, Popey and Butland. We are all working hard and pushing each other, so it is all competition."

Pickford also gave short shrift to questions over his diet, an issue that came up during his time under David Moyes at Sunderland.

"I was always eating healthy, I wasn't going to McDonald's every week like the gaffer, Moyes, said at the time," he said.

"But a nice pizza after three points isn't a bad way to have it, and we'd be having more than a pizza if we win the final."

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