Jordan Pickford opens up on Sunderland taunts from Newcastle United fans
Jordan Pickford says he heard everything that Newcastle United fans shouted at him – but was determined not to “take the bait”.
The goalkeeper was at fault last season as Newcastle came from two goals down to win 3-2 at St James’s Park.
Washington-born Pickford lost his focus as he was taunted about his previous affiliation with Sunderland, his boyhood club.
The England international – who was jeered and booed throughout the game – was determined to keep his focus on his return to St James’s Park.
Everton won 2-1 on Saturday thanks to two goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
"I was in my own world out there – I knew that last time I was here I let it all affect me,” said Pickford, who joined Everton from Sunderland in the summer of 2017 in a £25million deal.
“That was a big learning curve for me, and it's always been a tough place to play, especially for someone with my background.
"That makes it a lot worse as an opposition player, you always try and enjoy it on the pitch, and I just blocked the Newcastle fans out and showed focus. I thought my mentality was top drawer and that got me through the game.
"I could hear everything the (Newcastle) fans said. Every single word! Whereas last time I took the bait, I was determined not to this time. I didn't even look at the fans, I just kept my head down throughout the game.
"Last year was a bad experience, this one was a good one, although I don't think I broke into a smile until after the final whistle. I can enjoy it now.
“For someone like me getting a result here means everything considering I played for Sunderland and the stick I get.
“Today was about my character and my mentality. I'm happy I showed good character out there. I think I showed I don't get affected by fans these days.”