JORDAN PICKFORD and Kasper Schmeichel are preparing to go head-to-head in Wednesday night’s Euro 2020 semi-final having BOTH started their careers at Darlington.
England and Denmark will do battle at Wembley with a spot in Sunday’s final against one of Italy or Spain on the horizon.
Both nations have been indebted to their goalkeepers this summer, with Pickford and Schmeichel both in top form.
England and Everton ace Pickford is yet to concede a single goal at the Euros, making a string of fine saves along the way, including an astonishing stop to deny Kai Havertz in the last 16 win over Germany.
Denmark’s Leicester talisman Schmeichel has shipped an average of a goal per game, but has been crucial in his side coming back from the brink of a group stage exit to reach the semis.
And incredibly, both goalkeepers were handed their senior debuts by North East minnow Darlington.
Schmeichel first joined the Quakers in January 2006 on loan from Manchester City during their League Two days.
The Dane played four times before returning to City – later going on loan to Bury, Falkirk, Cardiff and Coventry, before signing for Notts County permanently in 2009
Pickford, then at Sunderland, linked up with Darlington on loan in January 2012, playing 17 times as the then-Conference team as they were relegated.
And now, years later the two former Darlo stoppers are set to go head to head on the biggest stage – the Euro 2020 semi-finals at Wembley.
After hearing the news, another former Darlington goalkeeper – Samuel Russell – took to Twitter to poke fun of himself.
Russell – now at Grimsby – wrote: “I was right in the middle of these two. And (David Stockdale) @stockogk1313.
“How s*** was I!!!!!”
Russell played once for Darlington in 2002 while on loan from Middlesbrough, before returning permanently and playing over 100 times between 2004 and 2007.
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