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”.

Jordan Pickford at the final whistle.
Jordan Pickford at the final whistle.

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.

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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.

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"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.”