Nick Pope is delighted to be back in business – for club and country.
The Clarets’ goalkeeper endured an ‘annus horribilis’ in 2018/19 after crashing down to earth with a bump.
Less than three weeks after watching from the bench as England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup, Pope suffered a long-term shoulder injury in the Clarets’ opening Europa League qualifier at Aberdeen at the end of July.
That put his burgeoning career on hold as fellow England men Joe Hart and Tom Heaton filled the void for Sean Dyche’s men throughout last season.
But after signing a new contract at Turf Moor this summer and taking the Clarets’ number-one jersey, the 27-year-old has resumed normal service for both Burnley and England.
Nick Pope is working again with former Clarets' captain Tom Heaton on England duty
“I was just three games in before the manager announced the squad so that’s a massive buzz to be back in and around it,” said Pope, who is part of Gareth Southgate’s England party looking to extend their 100 per cent start to Euro 2020 qualifying when they face Kosovo in Southampton on Tuesday night.
“It’s a massive honour and privilege. This time last year my arm was probably still in a sling.
“It’s felt like a long journey – and it has been – so to be back in the Premier League and playing for a great side, and a great club, and to be back in the England set-up as well, it’s been a good start.”
Pope – Player of the Year in 2017/18 following an outstanding first season playing at top-flight level as the Clarets qualified for Europe – is back as Burnley’s current first-choice between the posts.
And with four points from the opening four games ahead of the current international hiatus, he believes it’s been a positive start from Dyche’s side, who resume their campaign at Brighton on Saturday.
“We’ve got to look at it that way – especially with the performances,” Pope added.
“I think there has been some good stuff. There are still lessons to be learned, but with four games so far, I think we have played well and we’ve got a really positive outlook to look at after the break.”