JORDAN PICKFORD wants successive semi-final heartbreaks for England to pave the way for Euro 2020 glory.
Defensive errors were the main reason behind a 3-1 extra-time defeat to Holland in the Nations League on Thursday night as Gareth Southgate’s side followed up last summer’s World Cup last-four loss to Croatia.
They led in both ties before eventually being dumped out just one game away from the final of both competitions, meaning the wait to win their first major trophy since 1966 went on.
Pickford was one of the few England players to look anywhere near their best on a disappointing night in Guimaraes and has backed the Three Lions to learn from another setback.
‘The best thing about it is that sometimes these results make us better in the future,’ the Everton goalkeeper told beIN Sports.
‘We have got a big Euro 2020 coming up next year and hopefully this will spur us on a bit more to try and get through to a final because we have had two semi-final defeats but we learn and we keep going.’
Marcus Rashford had opened the scoring for England with a penalty before Matthijs De Ligt made up for conceding the spot-kick by heading Holland level.
Jesse Lingard came off the bench and thought he had won it late on, only to see his effort chalked off by the Video Assistant Referee for the tightest of offside calls.
The game went into extra-time where John Stones was caught in possession by Memphis Depay, whose initial shot was brilliantly saved by Pickford only to eventually be turned home by Kyle Walker for an unfortunate own goal.
With England chasing the game, a stray back-pass from Ross Barkley went straight to Depay, who squared for Quincy Promes to tap in a third.
‘John has just tried to play it back and got caught — that is football,’ explained Pickford.
‘You have got to take risks, it is the way we try and play football. I made a good save low to my right and saw a player running towards the ball.
‘Kyle saw exactly the same and it was a very lucky goal, it was going wide but hits Kyle as he slides down but we still had 25 minutes of play and we kept going and we never say never.
‘I think we played very good football up until then and we know how good a side the Dutch are and knew they were going to press us all the way — we were unfortunate.’
Meanwhile England boss Gareth Southgate vowed to support Stones following his error and was proud of what his team had achieved.
He said: ‘Throughout the game, we made too many mistakes in our third of the pitch and partly that was a consequence of their good pressure but partly that was just errors by us.
‘So, incredibly proud that the players have given absolutely everything. It’s very painful for them, it’s very painful for everybody, but it’s a night where we would have learned so much, some individuals really stood out.’