Jordan Pickford is proving his critics wrong, says former England goalkeeper David Seaman

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In safe hands: Jordan Pickford

Former England goalkeeper David Seaman believes Jordan Pickford is relishing proving his critics wrong at the World Cup.

The Everton number one has found himself under fire during the tournament but he produced several superb saves on Saturday as England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach the semi-finals.

Seaman, who made 75 appearances for his country, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “He’s not lacking in confidence at all. You can see when he makes good saves he loves to celebrate them, and why not?

“He’s doing this on the world’s biggest stage and he’s coming off the back of a little bit of criticism and he’s relishing in the fact that he’s proving
people wrong and telling them he is Jordan Pickford and he will do it his way.”

Seaman added: “Some of the criticism he got for the goal (against Belgium) when he went with the top hand was a little bit unjust, I just thought it was questionable but that was about it. But boy has he replied in the right way.”

Gareth Southgate, less than two years into his role as England boss, has guided the team into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990, and only third ever.

The last time England reached this stage of any major competition was at Euro 96, when Seaman and Southgate were team-mates on home soil.

The ex-Arsenal keeper admits he never imagined his old colleague would go on to become a manager, let alone achieve what he has.

“No. Obviously during Euro 96 it was a great time being an England player but you never thought that Gareth would go on to do what he’s doing now,” he said.

“He was always aware of tactics, team formations and all that sort of stuff, but it’s a long journey from there.

“He’s been through managing club sides, then up to the (England) Under-21s and to be doing what he’s doing now, in the style that he’s doing now, the way that he’s presented himself, it’s brilliant and it makes me feel so proud.”

On why he felt Southgate would not go into management, the 54-year-old said: “Maybe the self-confidence. You look at people like Tony Adams. Paul Ince, and even Alan Shearer, those three would have been top of your list. But not Gareth.

“It just shows you that there are different ways of becoming a manager, and he certainly has got that different way about him.”

Seaman is now backing England to overcome Croatia in Wednesday’s semi-final and set up what he believes will be a final showdown against Belgium next weekend.

He said on Sky Sports: “The Croatia game is going to be difficult, I think it’s going to be our hardest test, but when you look at both teams, for me, England have got a lot more than what Croatia have got.

“Croatia have got a great midfield and a great striker, but we’ve got great players all over the pitch, so for me it’s going to be England in the final and then I think it will be Belgium.”

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Gareth Southgate raising popularity of the waistcoat among England supporters

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Gareth Southgate has led England to the semi-finals at the World Cup.

Andrew Marr has joined other stars in wearing waistcoats in support of England manager Gareth Southgate, following the football team’s win over Sweden.

Southgate has worn the sleeveless suit staple throughout England’s World Cup campaign in Russia, giving the item a new lease of life.

With the national team now in the semi-finals of the tournament, stars and fans have been paying tribute to Southgate, with Marr sporting a waistcoat to host The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

“Coming up… @AndrewMarr9 with his own tribute to England manager Gareth Southgate’s dress style after Saturday’s win #ThreeLions #WorldCup18,” a tweet from the programme’s Twitter account read.

At the start of the broadcast, Marr made a reference to Southgate while talking about Brexit.

“Good morning, and a big confrontation with Brussels looms, those who have waited are now blessed with a calm, decisive leader they can believe in… so thank you, Gareth Southgate,” he told viewers.

Over on Channel 4, Sunday Brunch hosts Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer also opted to wear “lucky” waistcoats for the morning’s broadcast.

Lovejoy and Rimmer asked viewers to send in pictures of themselves celebrating England’s historic win against Sweden in the quarter-final on Saturday, with “extra points” given to people in Southgate-style waistcoats.

BBC Breakfast sports presenter John Acres wore a paper waistcoat during Sunday’s programme.

BBC Breakfast tweeted: “Who else was loving our sport presenter @JohnAcres48? No one else could rock a paper waistcoat quite like him! #ChannellingSouthgate #GarethSouthgateWaistcoat #WorldCup.”

The waistcoat craze reached actor Hugh Grant, who tweeted on Saturday ahead of the game: “Like so many today am wearing a waistcoat. Just a waistcoat.”

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has suggested that if the waistcoat continues to grow in popularity, it could have a positive effect for Marks & Spencer, the official tailors to the England team.

He wrote, after England’s latest success: “If this carries on Gareth Southgate could save Marks & Spencer #Waistcoat.”

The interest in waistcoats has already grown in recent days, according to Google search data.

Between July 3 and July 4, searches on the search engine for waistcoats shot up, following the team’s win against Colombia.

The charity Bloodwise has also suggested a Waistcoat Wednesday drive for the day of England’s semi-final game against Croatia.

On its website, the blood cancer research charity asked fans to “show your support for Gareth Southgate and the boys ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final showdown – and help give blood cancer the boot.”

The organisation said: “In honour of the England boss’ new-found football fashionista status, we’re inviting supporters to grab a waistcoat (or print one – in England colours of course!) and button up to beat blood cancer.

“Taking part is simple: proudly display our poster to encourage everyone to don their favourite armless attire, make a donation towards life-changing blood cancer research and get ready to celebrate as the Three Lions sail through to the finals!”

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Watch: Lucas Hernandez confident of France's ability to limit Eden Hazard and Belgium after success against Lionel Messi earlier in tournament

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Lucas Hernandez and France are into the semi-finals.

France will have their hands full with Eden Hazard and the rest of the Belgium squad in the semi-finals of the World Cup, but Lucas Hernandez is confident after already “eliminating the best player in the world” in Lionel Messi.

When France faced Argentina in the last 16, Messi had few opportunities to make anything happen as the French kept him quiet en route to a 4-3 win.

Heading into their meeting with Belgium and another world class player in Hazard, Hernandez believes the experience his side have already gained will serve them well.

“We have already eliminated the best player in the world in the Round of 16 against Argentina. He did not touch the ball,” Hernandez said.

See Hernandez’s full comments in the video below.

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