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The story behind Jordan Pickford's incredible rise as England bid for Euro 2020 glory

Sunderland-born Jordan Pickford is currently the only keeper at the Euros not to concede a goal

  • 18:00, 9 JUL 2021
  • Updated 18:27, 9 JUL 2021

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford celebrates the win over Germany

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Jordan Pickford has been a talisman for England during Euro 2020.

But what's the secret to the England No1's success?

His childhood sweetheart, devoted mum and PE teacher have all played key roles in helping him reach the international stage.

Read more: Gareth Southgate's jaw dropping £3.75m Yorkshire mansion - with a wine cellar and cinema

As England get ready to face Italy in the final, his former teachers, ex-players and family friends have praised Pickford's relentless pursuit of excellence which has taken him to the very top.

The Mirror reports his mum Susan took him to training and matches. She worked as a receptionist at her son’s school, the Robert of Newminster RC secondary, in Washington .

As Jordan, known as ‘Picky’, rose through the ranks to represent England as a schoolboy, Susan was always there for him. If his dad Lee, a builder, was working, she would arrive in a taxi.

Once he signed for Sunderland, Jordan again worked hard on loan to lower league clubs, and would have his mum’s pre-match meal of pasta and chicken in the back of the car.

“I’m not sure it was too professional,” he recalled later. “But as long as I was getting Man of the Match, it was all right. “My parents made sacrifices for me. That’s why I reward them now, playing in front of big crowds and giving everything.”

It was at the school that he first set eyes on the love of his life, his future wife Megan Davison. She was just 14, and he was 16, when they met.

He took her to the cinema on their first date - and they have been together ever since. She studied at Sunderland University while Jordan learned his trade as a professional footballer.

The couple moved to Cheshire after his £30m transfer from Sunderland to Everton in 2017 made him Britain’s most expensive ever goalie.

They wed in March 2020 at a register office with the £60,000-a-week goalie in a pair of ripped jeans and a baseball cap and Megan in an ivory blouse.

They love travelling, with the Bahamas, and Barbados among their favourite destinations. She calls him ‘bae’ in social media posts - with one showing dressed as Ali G at a fancy dress party.

Hugs and kisses for Jordan Pickford from his girlfriend Megan Davison

Now a multi-millionaire, the rising star has never forgotten his roots, visiting his old school to see his former teachers, giving them England shirts as mementoes of his rise to the very top.

Dean Juric, head teacher at St Robert’s in Washington, said: “Jordan was an excellent athlete and tennis player as well as a footballer.

“When he played for our school team he played outfield, our other keeper was pretty good at the time. Jordan has been a great inspiration to pupils.

“He’s a very focused and determined young man. He’s unassuming but very confident and self assured in a good, positive way.

“It will stand him in good stead for the rest of this tournament and we’re very proud to have a former pupil perform with such excellence.”

Jim Welch, Jordan’s former PE teacher at the school, still sees Susan and Jordan’s dad Lee at their local, catching up on the latest exploits of their son.

Jim, 66, described as ‘fearless’ from a very early age. In one game, when Jordan - known as ‘Speedy’ - was playing out in midfield, a referee warned that he would have to send him off such was the level of his commitment.

Jim told the Mirror: “His brother Richard would have Jordan diving around on concrete when they were playing. Jordan was fearless, he would do that even on the hard concrete.

“As soon as he got into the England teams, from under 15, I had a feeling he would go all the way to the top.

“He was fiery, but there is nothing wrong with that. I would play him in midfield and he scored a few goals with his left foot; they played him at the back at Sunderland for a while - that’s why his passing is so good now.

“He was always determined that he was going to be a professional footballer, he was in all the England teams, right the way through the junior ranks.

“He was brilliant against Germany, and I am over the moon for him and his family.” He added: “He used to come back into school when he was at Everton, and it was great to see him. His gran Sylvia used to work there too, she would bring him from five years old.

“He is still a lovely, down to earth lad. I think starting a family has helped him settle down. I feel such pride when I see him playing for England.”

Jordan revealed that he had been using a psychologist to improve his game this season. “We talk about everything. We cover a lot of bases: mentality and how to be better in all aspects,” he said. “He can help me develop my thinking… and learn how to cope with various things and get through sticky patches.

“I want to be the best goalkeeper for me. When I am on top form it gives the lads the strongest opportunity to win games, which puts smiles on fans’ faces.”

England legends Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand all praised his performance against Germany.

And it is not the first time he has been a hero for his country.

He pulled off a brilliant save as England overcame their penalty shoot out hoodoo to beat Columbia in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Back home, he told how he loves to spend his time with Megan and their two-year- old son Arlo, who travel to England games to see him in action.

He said of the victory over Germany: “It was great to see my family and friends there being part of the fans, it was incredible. We want more of that. We’ve got to enjoy the moment.”

He has also broken a record set 55 years ago by Gordon Banks for time before a goal was conceded - and tournament to date has only let one goal in.

He will win the tournament's Golden Glove following his efforts.

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Jordan Pickford has had his moments this season but still has so many qualities that set him apart

Jordan Pickford Everton

When you have not won somewhere in 25 years, it is fair to say you have found different ways to lose there. Or fail to triumph, at least.

So forgive Evertonians for holding their breath and involuntarily flinching when Gabriel Martinelli found himself primed to strike with just seconds remaining of Friday’s game at the Emirates.


Suddenly, a first win at Arsenal for Everton since 1996 appeared set to become a disappointing draw. Points dropped in the hunt for Europe and same old, same old in north London.

Not so — thanks to Jordan Pickford who proved that, even during a tumultuous personal season, he still has so many qualities that set him apart.

The England goalkeeper produced an excellent reflex save to thwart the Brazilian and allow his team to cling on.

BIG save in stoppage time! 😲 Jordan Pickford , mate. 💙 🎥 https://t.co/LLjF4Smac2 🎥 pic.twitter.com/TI1DQhI4qd — Everton (@Everton) April 23, 2021

It was not his only moment of vital calm. Pickford helped turn one moment of potential upset into a slick move just after the break when, as is the preferred way by Carlo Ancelotti, he gave the ball short from a restart to Allan who, instead of turning and looking forward, just as quickly sent it back to him under the press from Eddie Nketiah .

The pass back to him was uncharacteristically loose from Allan but Pickford did not panic as the Arsenal striker bore down on him too and instead, after controlling on his weaker right foot, he calmly slipped it to Ben Godfrey , starting a fine move that almost culminated in a Gylfi Sigurdsson goal.

Again he was up to the task on 66 minutes, diving emphatically to his left to deny a fierce Dani Ceballos shot on goal.

What is behind Pickford’s improving displays? Is he being driven to a new level of performance and maturity by the presence of a credible contender for the No 1 shirt at Goodison Park in Robin Olsen ?

Is he one of many players who, in some ways, has benefited from the lack of supporters in stadiums?

The former maybe, the latter less likely — even if Pickford has in the past allowed himself to be distracted by the home fans when Everton have been on the road.

Their strongly improved away record this season suggests something wider has happened across the team when it comes to playing away, but playing armchair psychologist with Pickford can be a reductive art.

Those that know him best acknowledge that he went through a difficult period at the height of the hysteria following the Goodison derby when his accidental challenge so badly injured Virgil van Dijk .

But Pickford takes little interest in Twitter generally and simply does not see much of the criticism he receives there, or the applause.

It is fair to say that the painful and troublesome hip injury that saw him have to go off during the defeat by Burnley at Goodison in March, and prevented him from playing since, has allowed Pickford some useful rest time.

The week beforehand, he turned 27 and others friendly with Pickford see him maturing, but it has been equally helpful for him and Olsen to have a more settled defensive shape and unit in front of them. Ancelotti has chopped and changed his defence, more so last season, but it has helped Pickford as he has played in front of the same players more often.

The growing influence of Ancelotti and his coaching team, including goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly, has helped too. Pickford is happy and settled at Everton. Like his team-mates, he feels part of a real team, with little or no back-biting, and was pleased when Olsen also recovered from injury to play well recently, especially after the troubling circumstances of the robbery and home invasion suffered by the Sweden international.

Pickford may be one of the lads at the training ground, and staff attest he is as down to earth as they come, but is confident of his ability. He backs himself and is good at tuning out the noise that comes with the scrutiny of being England’s No 1.

In the end, he takes most notice of what two men, Ancelotti and Gareth Southgate, think.

The Italian, for his part, was a happy man on Friday night. “Jordan Pickford did really well, with a good save at the end, he was comfortable, good with the ball,” he said. “His performance was really good.”

It will not have gone unnoticed by Pickford, like Ancelotti’s unfailingly loyal public pronouncements during the Van Dijk saga and after errors this season.

The Everton goalkeeper is going into the crucial last stretch of his club’s long and winding campaign with his self-belief intact and a new level of composure that can only bode well.

(Photo: Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

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Greg O'Keeffe

Greg O'Keeffe is a senior writer for The Athletic covering US soccer players in the UK & Europe. Previously he spent a decade at the Liverpool Echo covering news and features before an eight-year stint as the paper's Everton correspondent; giving readers the inside track on Goodison Park, a remit he later reprised at The Athletic. He has also worked as a news and sport journalist for the BBC and hosts a podcast in his spare time.

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Jordan Pickford profile: Why he is ready for the Everton challenge

Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is in demand after a fine Premier League season

Comment and Analysis @ghostgoal

Thursday 15 June 2017 16:52, UK

Everton's decision to pay Sunderland £30m for Jordan Pickford is seen by some as a gamble, but the young goalkeeper has passed every test he has faced. Adam Bate speaks to former team-mates and coaches to find out what makes Pickford so special.

When Jordan Pickford was thrust into the Premier League limelight as Sunderland's No 1 goalkeeper, there were those expecting the youngster to struggle. He was 22 and sure to be tested - crosses launched high into the box, forward runners closing him down with the ball at his feet and plenty of saves to make under pressure.

But while the season itself was everything Sunderland fans had feared, the now 23-year-old Pickford rose to the occasion, picking up the player of the year award and just about every cross that came his way too. Heralded as a future England star, now everyone is a convert. But nobody should have been surprised. This overnight sensation was years in the making.

Prior to Pickford's Premier League debut at Tottenham last year, he had made 116 league appearances already in loan spells at six different clubs. From non-league through League Two and League One, he graduated to the Championship with Preston last season. Far from being thrown in at the deep end, Pickford's transition has been perfectly managed.

If there was a moment of truth, it came in his very first game. The circumstances could hardly have been more dramatic. Pickford was drafted into a dire situation at Darlington. Players were there on a non-contract basis and not being paid. The club's very future was at risk. And between the sticks stood a 17-year-old goalkeeper.

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The debut came against Fleetwood in front of a crowd of 5,638 - many fearing they would never see the team play again. Crowd congestion even delayed the kick-off. Local midfielder Adam Rundle was one of the few senior players to stick around. "It was basically just youth teamers with a couple of older lads there to guide them through," he tells Sky Sports .

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"We had to make the best of it and that's what we did. The fans were fundraising and doing bucket collections just to help the lads get by. The craic was good and there was still a bit of a buzz because we were on a hiding to nothing really and getting to play in front of big crowds. I think the young lads enjoyed it because they were getting that experience."

Everton complete Pickford deal

Pickford focused on England

More than 6,000 people turned up for the next home game against York and there were other big matches against the likes of Luton, Stockport, Grimsby and Wrexham. Darlington did not win any of them. In fact, Pickford failed to win any of his 17 games for the club. He tasted relegation before he tasted three points. Sunderland was nothing compared to this.

"He was coming into a difficult situation," recalls Rundle. "He was probably getting 25 to 30 shots to save. It did him the world of good though. I definitely thought he had potential and being in that situation probably helped him. He was thrown in at the deep end as a 17-year-old but that's how you get your experience. He was able to get his at a young age."

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Even as a teenager, however, the defeats will have stung Pickford. "He hated losing more than anyone I knew even in training," remembers fellow Sunderland youth-teamer Billy Knott. "You could see he had ability even at that age. You knew he was going to be a good player. But he was not arrogant. He is one of the nicest guys I have met in football.

Knott's biggest memory of their days together on the training pitch was Pickford's distribution skills. It has become something of a trademark for him, having created more chances than any other Premier League goalkeeper last season. In particular, his mastery of the side-volley has goalkeeper coaches drooling. And some of his outfield colleagues too.

"His kicking gets me," adds Knott. "You wouldn't mind if he was on your team in five-a-side whereas some keepers you wouldn't want them anywhere near your team. When we used to train as kids he used to join in possession and he could handle the ball. That is really important in today's football. You have to be able to play and he can do that."

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After spells with Alfreton, Burton and Carlisle, Pickford made the step up to League One with Bradford, joining on loan soon after Knott signed for the Bantams on a free transfer. "He sent me a text before he came to ask what it was like and I told him the fans were brilliant and would love him," says the midfielder.

"He got to play in front of 17,000 every week as a young lad so it was good for him to go there. He did really well. He was coming for balls all the time and although he did make some mistakes because of it, you just knew that he would keep coming for them. He would never shy away. Not many keepers would do that."

Pickford's performances caught the eye of Preston manager Simon Grayson and the goalkeeper got the opportunity to complete his lengthy apprenticeship in the Championship. "Not many of our players or supporters knew about him but we had obviously watched him," Grayson tells Sky Sports .

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His distribution is second to none. To be honest, he could play outfield with the feet that he has got. Simon Grayson on Jordan Pickford

"He had done the whole learning curve with non-league football and gone through all of the divisions. He had served his time at Bradford and Carlisle and other smaller clubs. You could sense that had given him confidence but that he was not getting above his station either. Sunderland was just the next chapter in his career really.

"His distribution is second to none. To be honest, he could play outfield with the feet that he has got. Whether it is off the deck or out of his hands, he can suddenly turn defence into attack. His shot-stopping is up there with the best as well. We had no doubt he would go back to Sunderland and get the No 1 spot there.

"He deserves it because he is a hard-working lad who wants to improve all the time. If you do that you have got a chance of getting where you want to get to and I am sure he will do. I think he will eventually get to be England's No 1. That is no disrespect to the other goalkeepers but I do think he will get there."

Pickford focused on England

Jordan Pickford said recently that he wanted to put transfer talks on hold to focus on England.

His old pal Knott agrees. "He will be England's next keeper," he says. "I think he's good enough and the Sunderland experience will have helped him in a way. If he had been in a better team then maybe he would not have made as many big saves and people would not have realised how good he is. Every time I turned on Match of the Day he was on there."

The tally now stands at 147 league appearances but as has been pointed out, in terms of actual activity, Pickford has picked up more experience than most in those games. A £30m transfer brings pressure but that does not mean it is a gamble. Pickford is ready. After everything he has experienced so far, why would he not be?

"He has not got to play in many teams where you are winning every week but these experiences help you grow and toughen you up mentally," adds Rundle. "Getting that Darlington situation under his belt at a young age and having to deal with the Sunderland relegation. Let's face it, from now on it will all feel like plain sailing."

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Inside England goalie Jordan Pickford's lavish £2.1 million home he shares with gorgeous girlfriend

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's first home may well be the pitch, but when he's not saving the balls from hitting the back of the next he's chilling out at his lavish £2.1 million Cheshire home

  • 12:15, 23 JUN 2021

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All eyes are on the Euros action right now, and fans were celebrating on Wednesday evening as England brought it home.

Keeping the balls out of the goal is talented goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who is 27 years old and signed for Everton for a fee of £30 million in June 2017.

Pickford talented in reflected in his gorgeous home , where he lives with his partner Megan Davison and together they live a life of luxury, from private jets to £2,500-a-night hotel suites.

The pair, who are childhood sweethearts, tied the knot in a ceremony at a registry office in Crewe in 2020 and they’re welcomed a son, who turned one in February 2020.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford lives in a stunning home with his partner Megan Davison in Cheshire

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They live in a five-bedroom mansion in Cheshire which is rumoured to cost £2.1 million in the ‘Golden triangle’ – an area surrounded by designer stores and snazzy bars.

Their huge home is decked with lavish interiors, including a large kitchen with stone flooring and expansive views of their garden.

At Christmas in their cosy lounge, Jordan and Megan’s baby son watched as the snow came down and you can see the couple’s huge sofa with designer scatter cushions placed on top.

The couple's little boy watches the snow from their window

We caught a glimpse inside their kitchen as Megan rustled up pancakes on the marble counter.

The stylish space boasts chic matte black cabinets and state-of-the-art equipment, and it’s the perfect spot to rustle up sweet treats.

Inside their bedroom, the footballer pro and his belle have opted for a huge bed with grey headboard and matching duvet cover and pillows.

The cupboards are stylish and the space is airy and clean

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There’s a stylish grey chair sitting in the corner and patterned grey curtains keep the light from coming in.

There’s also a mirrored bedside table, on top of which sits a stylish grey lamp to match the theme of the rest of the room.

Jordan and Megan’s nursery is simply adorable and it looks like the perfect spot for the little one, with a stylish crib and an animal theme running throughout.

The patterned walls feature safari animals and a giant toy giraffe sits in the space next to a sweet animal mobile.

Megan poses inside her stylish home

The grey carpets in the nursery blend perfectly with the rest of the interiors, and statement lighting hangs from the ceiling.

The very lavish home is equipped with all sorts of stylish additions, including a black sideboard with funky iron legs and the pair also have quirky artwork running throughout the abode.

Another impressive element inside the Pickford abode is the very elegant staircase which boasts grey carpets and looks like the perfect spot to snap a full-length outfit photo.

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England football hero Jordan Pickford offers a glimpse into his idyllic getaway with wife Megan and their son Arlo, 2

By Sam Baker For Mailonline

Published: 10:40 EDT, 22 July 2021 | Updated: 11:11 EDT, 22 July 2021

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He recently celebrated returning home from the Euro 2020 tournament by partying at a boozy bash with some of his friends. 

But England football hero Jordan Pickford was enjoying a more relaxed break on Wednesday as he spent time with his wife Megan, 25, and son Arlo, two, on a tropical getaway.

Taking to Instagram, the Everton goalkeeper shared a sweet image kissing his son on the cheek while they took a dip in a pool.

'Quick break away': England football hero Jordan Pickford offered a glimpse into his idyllic tropical getaway with wife Megan and their son Arlo in a picture on Wednesday

'Quick break away': England football hero Jordan Pickford offered a glimpse into his idyllic tropical getaway with wife Megan and their son Arlo in a picture on Wednesday

Jordan could be seen holding Arlo in his arms as he waded through the water.

Captioning the sweet picture, Jordan made a reference to the party he was filmed attending after returning home where he sung Cher's Believe while riding on a friend's shoulders, and he wrote: 'Quick break away with Megs and Arlo… be back in the tent in no time.'


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It wasn't just Jordan offering a glimpse of their holiday though, with his wife Megan also having shared a couple of snaps during their time away.

Megan took to her Instagram stories on Thursday morning to share two family snaps with her 85,200 followers.

'My boys': Jordan's wife Megan also took to Instagram, during the early hours of Thursday morning, to share a photo of the England goalkeeper and his son walking hand-in-hand

'My boys': Jordan's wife Megan also took to Instagram, during the early hours of Thursday morning, to share a photo of the England goalkeeper and his son walking hand-in-hand

In one snap, Jordan holding the hand of his son Arlo as they walked over a sand-covered surface towards a well-lit canvas.

Jordan wore a navy blue shirt covered in a white floral pattern, paired with tanned chino shorts.

Meanwhile his son wore a bright yellow jumpsuit and white sandals as he followed his father's lead across the sand.

A second snap, uploaded by Megan, saw her leaning in towards husband Jordan as they shared a kiss with one another. 

Intimate: A second snap, uploaded by Megan, saw her leaning in towards husband Jordan as they shared a kiss with one another

Intimate: A second snap, uploaded by Megan, saw her leaning in towards husband Jordan as they shared a kiss with one another

She kept her caption minimalist, simply drawing a white love heart and tagging her husband's Instagram account.

The holiday snaps come after the goalkeeper made sure he truly let his hair down at his homecoming bash last week.

Jordan was treated to an epic celebration by wife Megan and their family and he was sure to live it up in style. 

In a video taken inside the bash, Jordan was seen to have whipped off the top of his Gucci co-ord and dance on his pal's shoulders to the tune of Cher's 1998 hit Believe, while Megan was mirroring his moves on another friend. 

Wheyo! After his Euros heartache, England goalie Jordan Pickford made surely he truly let his hair down at his homecoming bash last week

Wheyo! After his Euros heartache, Jordan made sure he truly let his hair down at his homecoming bash last week

The Three Lions fell just short of glory at  Euro 2020 after losing to Italy  in the final on penalties yet had plenty to celebrate as he arrived at the bash - complete with a marquee, balloons, bunting and personalised face masks featuring his image. 

Jordan appeared to have truly got in the party spirit as he jumped on his friend's shoulders in the crowded marquee and began belting out hits. 

The whole group appeared to be having a sensational time as they sang songs and lived it up to celebrate and commiserated the sad loss.    

With his arms splayed, Jordan shed his garish Gucci polo shirt - which he had paired with matching shorts - and sang the song to his heart's content, while Megan was not to be outdone, as she too was sitting above the raucous crowd. 

Woo! Megan was not to be outdone, as she too was sitting above the raucous crowd

Woo! Megan was not to be outdone, as she too was sitting above the raucous crowd

Jordan could not hide his delight as he arrived at the bash and saw a mass of friends and family cheering to surprise him and celebrate his return from the gruelling tournament. 

His son Arlo appeared in the mood to celebrate as he was clad in a Spiderman costume while zipping around the bash while Megan was dressed up in a chic blue blazer and white crop top. 

The balloons at the bash were aplenty, with Welcome Back and England spelt out in inflated letters and other balloons reading: 'We are so proud. Well done'. 

Many revellers sported face masks featuring Jordan's beaming image, with Megan posing with one of the shots.

Sweet: He got kisses from his adoring wife Megan, who he wed last year

Amazing! He was treated to a huge crowd of revellers and kisses from his adoring wife Megan, who he wed last year

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'Why Pickford Is One Of The World's Best'

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Neville Southall, Nigel Martyn and former teammate Asmir Begovic have their say on Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford , explaining how he continues to impress for C lub and country, and how he ’s solidified his spot as Three Lions’ No.1 and one of the finest shot-stoppers in football.

Upcoming UEFA EURO Championship qualifiers against North Macedonia and Malta could provide Pickford with another opportunity to further stake an already comprehensive claim to be Gareth Southgate’s keeper for a fourth consecutive major tournament.

Under the current England manager, only Harry Kane (64) has made more starts than Pickford (56) , who has repaid Southgate’s faith with consistently strong showings at each of the past three tournaments.

Meanwhile, for Everton, Pickford continues to catch the eye on a regular basis, mixing top-quality saves with excellent distribution, key factors in him scooping numerous Club and fan awards since moving to Merseyside in summer 2017.

Pickford - Recognised And Rewarded For Everton Form

Since joining the Toffees, Pickford, who recently passed 250 Everton appearances, has been a standout for the Club, winning three of Everton’s Player of the Season awards across his six full campaigns.

Asmir Begovic I think Jordan is one of the best goalkeepers in the world

Last season, the Everton goalkeeper recorded the third most saves (123) in the Premier League, while ranking in the top 10 for save percentage (71.3).

The campaign also saw Pickford - according to expected goals - prevent three goals through his shot-stopping efforts. This was the sixth highest for any Premier League goalkeepers, and per 90 minutes, puts him in the top five.

Neville Southall : No Better English Goalkeeper

N S : " I think the responsibility Pickford has taken on is great and I don’t think anyone is better than him for England . That position is 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical. So he’s getting better and he’s doing a really good job.

"Obviously, he’s good under pressure when he plays for England because, I think, if you’re English it’s a totally different ball game.

"Give me a better goalie than him in England who’s English.

"To play 250 games at Everton is obviously good, and a s a goalkeeper, you live and die by your decisions . L et’s be honest, if you look at those 250 games, he’s made a lot of right ones and I think he will get even better with experience.

"With that experience comes a slowing down of stuff. You can see it now where he’s just starting to slow down, which is probably a good thing, but you’ve also got to remember that he was a kid in Sunderland’s team. 

"I felt my best at 35 because I knew when I was getting to the ground, what their team was like and what the atmosphere would be like and how the game would go.

"You get to read situations miles better. At 35 I think you’re probably a man, you know, physically you're round about your peak. Experience-wise you have everything physically. He’s got six years and in those six years, it’s up to him."

England’s No.1 - Consistent On The Biggest Stage

At the 2018 World Cup, only two goalkeepers made more saves than Pickford (16), who helped England reach a first semi-final in the competition for 28 years.

Following that, the 2021 European Championships saw the Toffees goalkeeper record the most clean sheets at the tournament, with five, while also registering the highest save percentage, at 88.9 per cent. His performances aided England in their run to a first major tournament final since 1966.

In Qatar in 2022, no goalkeeper recorded more clean sheets than Pickford, who earned three in five games.

Asmir Begovic On ‘One Of The World’s Best’

AB: “I think Jordan is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“There are certain realities in football. We’re in the most followed sport in the world. When you play for Everton, a historic Premier League club, and England, one of the biggest football nations in the world, then there is a reality that it comes with a level of attention.

“What’s great about Jordan is that he’s aware of that in terms of the responsibility but then it comes down to how you deal with that, and you do that by simply focusing on your work every day.

“It’s a day-to-day process - not looking too far ahead, not getting too far ahead of yourself. Jordan does a great job of compartmentalising it, taking it day to day, week to week and understanding that’s how he’s got himself into the position he is in now.

“Coming to Everton, one of the attractions for me was to work with Jordan, compete with Jordan and, obviously, to push Jordan.

“It honestly was really great to work with him and we formed a great relationship because he’s such a good guy.

“We’ve got a very healthy respect for each other and I’m a big fan of his and what he’s doing right now because he’s performing at such a high level.

Nigel Martyn Pickford has improved year on year at Everton, and I think that improvement will carry on as long as he’s fit and wants to keep playing at the highest level

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Jordan will continue to get better.

“He’s still young, especially in goalkeeper terms. If he continues working as he does, pushes himself as he does, looks after himself as he does… he’s got many years left at the highest level.

“With goalkeepers, the greater understanding of the game you get from experience is so important and he’ll continue to benefit from that the more games he plays.”

Pickford’s Passing - A Reliable Asset

An increasingly important aspect for the modern goalkeeper – and a requirement for England’s possession-dominant style - Pickford’s proven to be comfortable with the ball at his feet.

Known as a strong kicker, he excels from a range of distances. So far during the 2023/24 Premier League season, he ranks first for most completed long passes (passes further than 30 yards) for any player - outfield or in goal - with 125.

In the previous campaign, only David Raya registered more than Pickford, who completed 342 long passes for Everton.

Shorten the range, and a mistake is rare for the Blues goalkeeper. Since his debut for Everton in the Premier League, Pickford has attempted 798 short passes (five to 15 yards), misplacing just four.

Nigel Martyn On How Pickford Has Earned Southgate’s Trust

NM : " He comes up with big saves in important games that have kept clean sheets or saved a result, and those saves have really helped Everton over the past few years.

"His shot-stopping is probably his biggest asset, but his distribution is very good as well. He kicks the ball a long way, and accurately, too.

"He gets himself set for shots really well and that’s very important. At the point where someone hits the ball, your feet have to be on the ground, and he’s very good at being set for when the shot happens.

"That’s a technical thing that you have to work on, so he does identify the moment when the shot is likely to happen and that helps him with his reflexes and the other attributes he has.

"For England, he looks suited to international football. He’s got the full trust of the manager for both Club and country.

"He is the No.1. That’s how it is, it’s how Gareth (Southgate) sees it, and it’s based on his performances. Since he’s been No.1, he’s played very well, and Gareth is aware of what he’s capable of and trusts him to perform.

"I think he’s improved year on year at Everton, and I think that improvement will carry on as long as he’s fit and wants to keep playing at the highest level."

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Jordan Pickford’s brilliant career in quotes: ‘It was clear he was special’

Jordan Pickford was one of England’s shock stars at the 2018 World Cup, and it all started “having abuse hurled” at him in the Conference.

Pickford rose through the ranks at Sunderland and became the most expensive British goalkeeper in history when he joined Everton in the summer of 2017.

His progression led to a somewhat surprising call from Gareth Southgate to be his No.1 ahead of the World Cup in Russia, but the decision paid dividends with some outstanding performances.

The 24-year-old saved Carlos Bacca’s penalty to give Eric Dier the chance to earn England’s first ever World Cup shoot-out win in the last 16, before a stunning performance against Sweden earned him a clean sheet and a man of the match award.

But Pickford’s wonderful tale starts in the fifth tier, being sent on loan to struggling Darlington two months prior to his 18th birthday.

Jordan Pickford: Brick Wall! #bbcworldcup pic.twitter.com/2iNz2nJalW — BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 8, 2018

“When there are just 500 fans inside a ground, you can hear everything they say, every little word. So that’s what turns you from a kid into a man,” Pickford recalled of his time at Darlington, who were bottom of the Conference “getting battered every week”.

Manager Craig Liddle was forced to take a punt on Pickford due to financial restraints and a transfer ban, but he knew he was getting a potential gem.

“Without the embargo, I’d probably have gone for a more experienced keeper,” Liddle said. “But I’d coached Jordan when I’d helped with Sunderland’s under-12s and, even at such a young age, it was clear he was a really special talent.

“You worry about throwing a young kid like that in. But he fitted in well straightaway.

“Jordan made mistakes, but you expect that. The most impressive thing was the way in which he didn’t let the odd mistake bother him.

“In addition he wasn’t afraid to give lads almost twice his age an earful if he thought they were doing something wrong. He hasn’t changed.”

Jordan Pickford on playing for Darlington in 2012: "I played nearly 20 games for them and it was quality. I really enjoyed it, it was a great experience for me, despite the team getting battered every week during what was a difficult time for the club." https://t.co/UeOSwX2LjJ — Craig Stoddart (@CStoddartEcho) July 9, 2018

Alfreton Town

Pickford ended another goalkeeping crisis a year later, returning to the fifth tier to join Alfreton Town.

“He was very raw but you could see he was special,” said Nicky Law, long-time Alfreton manager and now head of youth recruitment at Burnley.

After Pickford’s second outing at Alfreton, which yielded five clean sheets from 12 appearances, Law said: “He is a bright lad and he has got a big, big future ahead of him. Speaking to people at Sunderland, they rave over him and they think that he will play at the top end of the Premiership. I am sure he will do.”

“Jordan was a good lad,” Alfreton chairman Wayne Bradley added. “He kept himself to himself and was a little shy. But when he crossed that white line it was all so different. He was so focused and so commanding. He was a class act.”

“We tried to sign him when his loan ended but we didn’t quite make it happen. You can only wonder what might have been if we’d managed to get a deal done.”

On the constant audible abuse, Pickford said: “I remember going for a drink of water and one old bloke shouts, ‘Hey you, young lad! Your grandad is under that grass!’ I just turned around to him, gave him the thumbs up and said, ‘Nae problem!'”

Five years ago, Jordan Pickford was playing for Alfreton Town. Now, he's preparing for a #WorldCup semi-final. 🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/LAhgRYqMjT — BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 7, 2018

Burton Albion

“I’ve always said that my hardest loan spell was at Burton, moving away from home and friends and family for the first time,” Pickford said of his stint at the League Two club, his first taste of full-time football.

“Jordan is a player of undoubted ability who I know is regarded very highly by the coaches at the Stadium of Light,” then-Burton manager Gary Rowett said as Pickford joined on loan – a spell which was interrupted by a brief return north to deputise as substitute goalkeeper in the Premier League.

“It’s a position that requires a lot of consideration and I believe Jordan has the attributes and temperament to be a really valuable addition to the squad.”

Rory Delap, who was lining up for Burton in the latter days of his career, said: “You could see from the day he came in that he had quality. It didn’t take an expert to see his potential.

“Sometimes you see that in young lads, but they fall by the wayside, while some go on to have exceptional careers, and pretty early on we saw Jordan’s commitment and attitude to football.”

England number 1 Jordan Pickford made his Football League debut, for Burton Albion, at Cheltenham Town on August 3, 2013, beaten by @JamieCuro (18) and Byron Harrison (32), but the Brewers hit back to draw 2-2 #ctfc pic.twitter.com/SZhwEnAgvm — Jon Palmer (@JonPalmerSport) July 3, 2018

Carlisle United

Having been recalled once more by Sunderland, Burton hoped to re-sign Pickford for a third time, but after another handful of games as an unused substitute at the Stadium of Light, he joined League One side Carlisle on a temporary deal.

“He’s shown some good things and he’s working hard to improve all the time,” said manager Graham Kavanagh, after extending the initial one-month loan until the end of the season.

Recalling one particular match at Preston, Carlisle’s goalkeeping coach Tony Caig recalled:  “Jordan came for a cross, and it was as though he was thinking about what to do with it before he caught it.

“He dropped it, and they scored. At that point I thought, ‘Ooh, let’s see how he reacts to that.’ Five minutes later another cross comes into the box and he comes and takes it, as confident as anything.

“He was very driven, and just got on with things. He was very grounded, trained well, and could kick the ball a mile. You could tell he had something about him.”

If you were Scouting #ENG four years ago the club you would have to follow Jordan Pickford – Carlisle Harry Macquire – Sheffield United John Stones – Barnsley Kieren Trippier – Burnley Dele Alli – MK Dons Eric Drier – Sporting Lisbon Jesse Lingard – Derby County — Aaron Nielsen (@ENBSports) July 7, 2018

Bradford City

It was at League One Bradford where Pickford came into direct contest with future England team-mate Dele Alli, who recently described Valley Parade as “horrible” when recalling a 2-1 defeat for his MK Dons side in which he scored in front of the Sky cameras, labelling the match his worst experience in the lower leagues.

Pickford, on the other hand, was with a Bradford side on the up – though the terms of his loan forced him to sit out a run to the FA Cup quarter finals, which included victory over parent club Sunderland on the “horrible” pitch in Yorkshire.

“He didn’t have the greatest start, then there were a few games after that when he didn’t do so well,” remembered Lee Butler, City’s goalkeeping coach. “It’s not easy as a young goalie. You make a mistake and everyone is on you. But it never bothered him one iota.

“It was unbelievable strength of character in such a young player and that was the thing that really stuck out for me. A few could have wobbled. He was only just 20 but for someone so young to show that level of maturity and character was fantastic.”

Assistant boss Steve Parkin said: “He’s a young goalkeeper who’s brave, makes good decisions and stands by them. The one outstanding thing about him is that he’s a terrific character. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to be an outstanding goalkeeper.”

Pickford was forced back to Sunderland in March, after his youth loan was no longer valid following his 21st birthday. “Jordan has been brilliant for us since coming to the club and he has been a pleasure to work with,” manager Phil Parkinson added.

Jordan Pickford. Born on wearside, made in Bradford #SWEENG #bcafc pic.twitter.com/Rtr4l0baVW — James Mackenzie (@Kenzie1975) July 7, 2018

Preston North End

“I was raving about him to the Liverpool staff, saying this lad is the best I’ve worked with,” recalls then-Preston goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who touted Pickford up for a move to Anfield during his Championship loan spell in 2015.

“I told them he is going to be something special – but not many people take notice of me to be honest! Unfortunately they didn’t get him and Everton got, for me, a steal even at £30million.”

“I always felt he would be a Premier League player and an England No.1 of the future,” added his boss at Preston, Simon Grayson. “He is a great kid, fantastic shot saver, good ability, good distribution. He is only going to improve.”

He equalled a club record six consecutive clean sheets during six months at Deepdale, making 14 in total from 30 appearances before a recall to Sunderland in January.

Pickford had a 54% clean sheet record for Preston last season, the best ratio of 'keepers with 5+ starts in England's top 4 tiers. #SUFC — Tim Clement (@Tim_Clement_) September 12, 2016

Pickford returned to struggling Sunderland on January 1, featuring in an FA Cup loss to Arsenal before another defeat to Tottenham in the Premier League – meaning by the age of 21 he had featured in each of England’s top five divisions.

“It was a dream come true as a young lad coming from Washington and a Sunderland fan,” Pickford said after his debut against Arsenal. “I have been on a lot of loans and have benefited from each of them. I came back and there’s nothing better than to go out there and play.”

“Jordan can be England’s No 1,” manager David Moyes said, as Pickford made it into the England squad for the first time in October 2016.

“I remember Joe Hart at Shrewsbury and was recommended to sign him when I was Everton boss. We didn’t quite do it. I knew about Jack Butland when he was young as well. Jordan is definitely in that bracket.”

“Pickers has been impressive, his kicking is quality at times but sometimes he has to calm himself down because the game is going so fast,” said Sunderland captain John O’Shea.

“It’s end to end and we just need to try and keep control of it because that kind of adds to the tension. If he can control that a little bit then he is going to be a top-class keeper.”

And Jermain Defoe added: “Jordan has been amazing and he has great potential. I have been singing his praises since the first time I saw him. He is one of the best goalkeepers I have seen in my career.”

Pickford's side volley is porn. pic.twitter.com/glcJVFg5xo — David Preece (@davidpreece12) May 16, 2017

“Jordan is a very talented young professional who also has a real hunger for success,” said Everton manager Ronald Koeman, after making Pickford the club’s record signing, and the most expensive goalkeeper Britain has produced.

“For such a young man, he looks very mature for his age. And he still has a long way to go in terms of improvement because his talent is that big,” added Koeman’s replacement, Sam Allardyce, who had also overseen Pickford’s first appearances at Sunderland.

“He is performing at the top level of his game at the moment. But there is still room within his potential for more.”

Wayne Rooney furthered the praise from Goodison Park: “He is the best keeper this country has got, in my eyes Jordan is number one. He is a good character around the dressing room. At times this season he has saved us points and kept us in games.

“He is vocal and you need your keeper to talk. It gives everyone security, especially your back four. It makes them feel safe to have someone behind them who is speaking to them.

“He has performed really well for us this season. He was a great signing and will be here a long time, I am sure.”

Jordan Pickford at Everton's end of season awards night: Young Player of the Season Players' Player of the Season Player of the Season A diamond in the rough. pic.twitter.com/wubW0KNOkP — Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) May 2, 2018

“He is a very agile goalkeeper, quick around his goals, he is capable of making big saves, his distribution is excellent – a really outstanding distributor of the ball with his feet which is how we want to play,” said manager Gareth Southgate in March, giving his first hint that Pickford would be his first choice for the upcoming World Cup.

The 24-year-old went on to steal fans’ hearts with admirable performances, notably saving Carlos Bacca’s penalty in the shoot-out against Colombia before three top drawer saves helped him to a quarter-final clean sheet against Sweden, to go with a man of the match award.

“I’m forever in his debt,” said fellow Sunderland academy graduate Jordan Henderson, who had seen his penalty saved to put Colombia ahead in the tense shoot-out.

“I can’t thank him enough, he says the Mackems stick together! He deserves all the praise, I am so happy for him to achieve that.”

“Our togetherness and our mentality is different gravy,” added Pickford himself, before going on to claim he is a “man not a mouse” after shaking off a “daft” injury inflicted by punching his own knee in frustration.

“If you’re going to be successful in a tournament, you need your goalkeeper to stand firm,” said BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand after the Sweden victory. “What he showed here was great character, personality, and the confidence that has come out of that penalty save is so apparent in this game.”

Alan Shearer added: “We were professional and thorough and every single player played their part, but Pickford was outstanding in goal when he had to be, when they got through our defence.”

In honour of England's rock solid Yorkshire defence, we've popped down Malham Cove with a chisel. (And knighted Jordan Pickford as an honorary Yorkshireman). #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/GO0zZKjdQZ — Yorkshire Tea (@YorkshireTea) July 10, 2018

More England

The five steps of Jordan Henderson’s season-long turnaround in reputation

How the media rated England’s players in quarter-final win over Sweden

The making of Harry Maguire: From Sheffield United to the World Cup

Can you name every player capped by Gareth Southgate for England?

Everton goalkeeper signs new deal as Sean Dyche set to consider first team options

Joao Virginia is hopeful of staying with Everton this season and is the most experienced option should Dyche look internally for Jordan Pickford understudy

  • 11:00, 9 JUL 2023

Joao Virginia as Everton players return for training at Finch Farm. Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

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Joao Virginia has signed a new contract with Everton.

The 23-year-old has been rewarded with an extended deal as Everton explore goalkeeping options. He has spent recent seasons out on loan but Sean Dyche is contemplating using him as an understudy to Jordan Pickford for the upcoming campaign.

The departure of Asmir Begovic has left a senior squad position open and Virginia has the most first team experience of his rivals. He returned to Finch Farm for pre-season on Thursday having recovering from a minor injury suffered at the end of last season.

Virginia's hopes for the future have now been boosted after he committed his future to Everton by signing an extension that the club said would take him to 2025. His previous contract was due to expire next summer.

EXCLUSIVE: Joao Virginia opens up on future as Everton goalkeeper pecking order changes

EXCLUSIVE: Duncan Ferguson reveals true feelings on Rafa Benitez appointment and opens up on Everton protests

It is set to be a big season for the former Portugal youth international, who is eager to impress Dyche over the coming weeks. He spent last season in the Netherlands with Cambuur, clocking up 17 appearances and receiving a number of individual accolades for his performances, before falling out of favour. The season before he spent at Portuguese side Sporting, playing in the Lisbon side’s Champions League tie at Ajax.

Speaking upon the announcement of his new deal, Virginia said: "I’m really happy to be at Everton and it’s a great moment for me and my family to sign this new contract. It’s nice to be back at Finch Farm and I’m looking forward to the season. A lot has changed since I’ve been away on loan last season. There’s new players and a new manager so it feels like a fresh start."

Virginia has made three first team appearances for the Blues - starting in a 3-0 victory over Salford City in the Carabao Cup second round in September 2020, replacing the injured Jordan Pickford during the opening half of a Premier League game against Burnley the following March and then starting the FA Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester City seven days later. He won the youth double with Everton’s Under-23s and has represented Portugal up to the U21s.

Virginia is ambitious and was hopeful of greater opportunity heading into this summer. That was before the exit of Begovic was confirmed, leaving Everton with Pickford and 39-year-old Andy Lonergan - who has committed to a further year with the club - as the remaining senior goalkeepers from last season’s first team squad.

Virginia has internal competition and Dyche may yet explore the transfer market, but his budget is thought to be limited and his recruitment ‘to do’ list is extensive. Speaking to the ECHO earlier this year, Virginia told of his desire to play a role at Everton. He also highlighted his gratitude at the way the club had handled his development so far, particularly goalkeeper coach Alan Kelly - who kept in touch with him and helped to analyse his performances last season despite being based in a different country.

Virginia said: “It is up to Everton because I respect the club’s decision and I think I am at a stage in my career where I want to compete and I want to play. If it is at Everton, then perfect, I know I can compete for a spot . Being at Everton is fantastic… The thing I appreciate a lot with Everton over the past few years is that they want to develop me, they believe in my development.”

On Virginia’s new contract, Everton Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, said: “Joao is a talented young goalkeeper who holds a lot of promise and we’re pleased to have him extend his time at the club. He’s gained valuable experience through his loan moves as he continues his development."

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Inside Jordan Pickford’s stunning Maldives wedding to childhood sweetheart Megan Davison: ‘Worth the wait for the most magical day with my soulmate’

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Jordan Pickford and Megan Davison wedding

Jordan Pickford and Megan Davison have finally granted a peek inside their lavish beach wedding in the Maldives, a day they waited over two years for amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The couple, who legally tied the knot in March 2020 , were at last able to celebrate their marriage with the spectacular day of their dreams on June 18.

Taking to Instagram on Wednesday to share the first pictures of their idyllic ceremony, surrounded by friends and family, the pair wrote: ‘Worth the wait for the most magical day with my soulmate 🤍 Introducing The Pickfords.’

Shortly afterwards, Megan updated her Instagram user name to take her husband’s surname.

The childhood sweethearts, who have been dating since the ages of 14 and 16, said their vows on a pink and white-flower festooned podium, surrounded by pampas grass, on the tip of a stunning white sand beach.

They married for the second time in front of a small crowd of 13 friends and family.

jordan pickford and megan davison wedding

Gorgeous photos showed the Everton player and Euro 2020 star , 28, holding his wife, 26, up as they kissed, while in another they were seen throwing their heads back with laughter.

Their three-year-old son, Arlo , also featured, wearing a matching cream linen suit to his dad’s, and being snuggled between both parents for a kiss.

The pair were seen beaming with joy as they walked down the aisle after the ceremony, hand-in-hand, as they were met with confetti.

jordan pickford and megan davison wedding

England goalkeeper Jordan also spun Megan around for a twirl as they danced on the beach barefoot later on.

Megan wowed in fishtail, off-the-shoulder bridal gown from the Autumn/Winter 2019 Athens collection by Berta fashion house.

The dress featured corset detailing and appliqué flowers, which she paired with a floor-length veil and matching flower crown in her loose blonde hair.

jordan pickford and megan davison wedding

New husband Jordan was in a three-piece cream suit with beige bowtie and a pampas grass and flower corsage.

Another sweet picture was shared to Megan’s stories on Instagram, with the mum joking it was a ‘tear-jerker’ as her son held up a sign during the ceremony reading: ‘Daddy, here comes Mummy!’ as he held her hand.

Friends gushed over the stunning photos and offered their congratulations to the couple.

Everton and England goalkeeper Jordon Pickford married his childhood sweetheart Megan Davison wearing ripped jeans and a baseball cap as they exchanged their vows in front of friends at Crewe registrar Office before heading to Alderley Edge for a low key reception

‘Oh my god 😍😍😍😍😍 this is beyond stunning lass 😮,’ wrote Vicky Pattison.

Footballer Kevin De Bruyne’s wife Michele Lacroix added: ‘Congratulations 😍😍😍’

‘The most gorgeous piks [sic] of the most beautiful intimate day! Love u both ♾ together,’ commented Italian footballer Fabio Borini’s wife Erin.

Jordan and Megan legally wed in a casual ceremony in March 2020, reportedly with just their son and five guests in attendance at a registry office in Crewe, Cheshire.

It’s understood that the couple also planned a larger party for family and friends in Sunderland, following their delayed more intimate Maldives marriage, which was initially planned for May 2020.

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Calif. Boy, 6, Who Loved Sports and the Outdoors Is Found Stabbed to Death Along with Great-Grandmother

Jordan Cam Walker's family remembered him as someone who “brought joy, laughter, and love to many"

jordan pickford yacht

A beloved 6-year-old is being remembered this week as a boy who “brought joy, laughter, and love to many” after he and his great-grandmother were found brutally stabbed inside their San Jose home.

The San Jose Police Department said authorities discovered the gruesome scene last Friday morning while performing a welfare check at a residence near downtown San Jose.

“Upon arrival, Officers located an adult female and a juvenile male suffering from at least one stab wound each,” police said in a news release . “Both victims were pronounced deceased at the scene by responding medics.”

Police have not yet identified the victims, but the family identified the child as Jordan Cam Walker in a GoFundMe post raising money for funeral expenses.

“With heavy hearts, we must come to celebrate the life of Jordan Cam Walker, a beloved 6-year-old child who loved the outdoors, swimming, playing baseball, and basketball,” the family’s statement read. “Jordan touched the lives of many in his community in San Jose, California. Jordan was taken from us way too soon, and his absence leaves a void that cannot be filled. During his short time with us, Jordan brought joy, laughter, and love to many people.” Jordan’s great-grandmother has not yet been identified publicly.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for  PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter  for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

San Jose Police Sgt. Steve Aponte told local station KRON the discovery of Jordan and his great-grandmother was traumatic for officers. “This was a very shocking and tragic incident that we are investigating,” Aponte said. “We are seeking justice.”

A spokesperson for the department told PEOPLE they could not comment on the ongoing investigation, and police have not yet said whether they’ve identified a suspect in the double homicide case.

In the department's news release, Aponte asked “anyone with information” to reach out to the San Jose Police Department to help detectives track down the killer. Authorities said tips could be submitted anonymously using the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers website , as well.

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