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Pickford's transfer no problem for Under-21s.

ENGLAND Under-21 manager Aidy Boothroyd insisted Jordan Pickford's PS30million move to Everton caused minimum disruption to their Euro 2017 plans.

Sunderland goalkeeper Pickford had a medical in Poland before his big-money switch to Goodison Park was sealed yesterday.

He is with the Young Lions preparing for today's Euro 2017 opener against holders Sweden in Kielce, when all eyes will be on the 23-yearold who has become the third most expensive goalkeeper in the world.

Boothroyd was happy the deal was done and believes Everton and England worked well as it was finalised. He said: "All the players belong to the clubs and we have to work with the clubs closely to make sure we help the players develop into everything they can be. Having an international slice of that cake is important. "When something like this happens it's a case of communicating, of courtesy and doing things what is right for the player and that's what we've done in this case.

"Every player is different. He'd play for nothing, he's that sort of guy. He loves the game. I'm sure he'll continue to do well."

Pickford is expected to start against Sweden in the Kolporter Arena with Boothroyd saying the squad are ready after spending the week in Poland.

He added: "We're in good shape, raring to go. Everyone is excited. It's like the hour before the game where you've done all your work and can't wait."

However, Boothroyd is not taking defending champions Sweden lightly, insisting his Young Lions are wary of today's opposition, and cannot afford to be complacent.

They face the defending champions in the opening game of Euro 2017 in Poland today with Boothroyd insisting they must be respected.

Today's opponents moaned that they did not see a video of England's 3-0 behind-closed-doors win over Iceland last weekend, although England are not obliged to provide one as it was not an official UEFA fixture.

Sweden boss Hakan Ericson has also said England are favourites for the Group A game in Kielce but Boothroyd is wary of the opposition. He said: "Of course we are, you don't go into a game thinking you're easily going to win. You have to have a bit of fear.

"It wasn't a very good game anyway so I don't think they want the tape.

"I think we have as much chance of winning the game as they have. They have won the tour before, they're defending the trophy, and he's a coach who has won the tournament so he has one up on me. If he thinks we're favourites that's great. If he thinks we're big favourites perhaps they'll not turn up and just give us the points."

But Ericson believes he knows enough despite not seeing the video of the Iceland match.

"They have good organisation and had a good qualification, were unbeaten, and we saw them in their last two friendlies against Germany and Denmark," he said.

"They had a problem against Germany and were very good against Denmark. Then they had a secret game against Iceland. We have some information but no pictures. We have the information we need."

England are fifth favourites for the title in Poland but Boothroyd feels all the nations are in the same boat. He added: "We all think we've got a chance of winning it but we've all got to get out of the groups, make sure we play well and get the little bit of luck we need. It doesn't matter if we've favourites or not."

Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, is also aiming to use the tournament to prove his worth.

"It's a great opportunity for exposure for all the players and I've had a great couple of season abroad but the focus is now on this tournament," he said.

"There's mass exposure for this tournament and hopefully with me playing at my best it will open some eyes as well."

Every player is different. He'd play for nothing, he's that sort of guy. He loves the game. Aidy Boothroyd

CAPTION(S):

England U21 manager Aidy Boothroyd (left) with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the team walkaround at the Kolporter Arena in Kielce, Poland, yesterday. Pickford signed a deal to join Everton yesterday Nick Potts
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSW
Date:Jun 16, 2017
Words:715
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