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Frank Lampard assures Jordan Pickford he will be fit to be England’s No 1 at the World Cup in Qatar

Frank Lampard has spoken to Gareth Southgate about Jordan Pickford’s fitness and has reassured him England’s number one will be fit for the World Cup.

Pickford injured his hamstring in his stellar performance in the Merseyside derby two weeks ago and will not feature in English Nations League games against Italy and Germany, although he is keen to join if possible.

Everton medical staff have discussed Pickford’s rehabilitation program with the Football Association and as things stand, he will either move between the posts against Southampton on October 1 or against Manchester United the following week.

Some players would be inclined to protect themselves when returning from a muscle injury so close to a big tournament, but Pickford sees things the other way around and is impatient to put his gloves back on. This meant Lampard had to explain to him the need to take medical advice.

“I’ll be honest – Jordan would play on a quad for England in a friendly next week,” said Lampard.

“We have to be sure that we are doing the right thing. I’ve spoken to Gareth and our physios and England’s physios are working together to make sure we’re doing the right thing for Jordan.

“And what’s right for Jordan is what’s right for Everton and England. Hopefully in the next two or three weeks he’ll come back, it’s that simple. We wouldn’t take any chances with him. If we did that it would affect our series of games leading up to the winter break.

There has been debate over who will start England’s first game in Qatar against Iran but given the esteem Southgate has for Pickford only a setback would stop him and Lampard has explained the dangers of doing too much, too soon.

“Obviously if you were to injure the quad again it would affect his preparation for the World Cup,” said the Everton manager.

“We are very careful with that. We work with Jordan and England. I learned as a player how negative it is when you come back too early.

“I’ve re-injured my quads a couple of times and tried to push my physio to get myself back up faster. I’m more experienced now so I can be on the other side and make sure he gets it right.

“The experts are the physiotherapists. It’s spicy, but it’s very ripe. He wants to play but we will find the right path.’

Lampard has confirmed talks are underway with Pickford’s representatives over a new long-term deal and that Everton are also in talks with Anthony Gordon about a deal to keep him at the club following continued interest from Chelsea.

“It’s something we want to do,” Lampard said. ‘We want to find the right solution.’

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