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Pope Tipped For England Bow

Clarets goalkeeper expected to make international debut

7 June 2018

Nick Pope looks poised to become the 29th Burnley player to win a full England cap when Gareth Southgate’s side completes its public preparations for the World Cup tonight.

England face fellow finalists Costa Rica in their final warm-up fixture at Elland Road with Stoke City’s Jack Butland told he will be starting in goal.

But media reports today (Thursday) suggest Pope will also figure at some point to make sure he doesn’t travel to Russia without a cap to his name.

Assuming he does come off the bench, Pope will add his name to the Turf Moor roll of honour and complete a memorable hat-trick of England debuts in the current campaign.

Burnley team-mates Jack Cork and James Tarkowski both won their first England caps in friendlies earlier this season and Pope will fulfil a lifelong ambition if he joins them.

Speaking at England’s media event ahead of the game and the subsequent departure to Russia, Pope said: “Playing for your country is the pinnacle of your career and it’s where you want to play – in international football.

“Hopefully that will be to come for me in the future. That’s what I’ve got to push for and my England debut will be the next target.”

Pope - the Clarets' Player of the Year - capped an outstanding first season in the Premier League by gaining a place in the 23-man party for the World Cup.

The 26-year-old says he “feels at home” in the England squad since his first call-up in March and is ready to play his part in Russia, where Everton’s Jordan Pickford is tipped to start England’s opening Group G game against Tunisia on 18 June.

“Whoever plays, the other goalkeepers will always be supporting that and the manager’s decision because that’s what’s best for the team,” Pope added.

“We have got a great group (of goalkeepers). I didn’t really know them too well before March but being in the squad together now we get on really well.

“We push each other every day and have a good laugh as well.

“Whoever is on the pitch, the XI, we are behind them. We are going to the World Cup for England, not ourselves.”

If Pope is capped, he will join team-mate Tom Heaton – on stand-by with Southgate's squad ahead of their departure to Russia – in the ranks of Burnley England goalkeepers and follow in the footsteps of Colin McDonald, Jack Hillman and Jerry Dawson.


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