Nick Pope Outlines England Ambition & Reflects on Challenges of Being a Goalkeeper

Nischal Schwager-Patel
Burnley FC's Nick Pope.
Burnley FC's Nick Pope. / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Nick Pope has admitted that although not a priority, he'd like to establish himself as England's number one goalkeeper.

The 28-year-old has been impressive for Burnley this season, reclaiming his place in Gareth Southgate’s England setup after injury had derailed his development and progress.

Pope in action for Burnley.
Pope in action for Burnley. / Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Having ousted Tom Heaton as Burnley's number one, as well as seeing off competition from former England goalkeeper Joe Hart, Pope has proven that he's capable of rising to a challenge, though he's admitted that he's not getting carried away with looking into the future.

Speaking to The Guardian, Pope said: “One of my main things is not to look too far ahead. I’m really looking after myself at Burnley. England is so far away, even though being the [number] 1 is something that I want.

“It’s a real dream of mine to play at Wembley and to represent England as many times as possible.”

Pope made his England debut in June 2018, coming off the bench in England’s 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica. He earned his second cap last November, playing the full 90 minutes as the Three Lions cruised to a 4-0 win in Kosovo in EURO 2020 qualifying.

Pope on his England debut against Costa Rica.
Pope on his England debut against Costa Rica. / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

He was also part of the squad that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, though he didn’t play any minutes as England's campaign ended in heartbreak once more - an experience that he still recalls as "one of the greatest things of my life.”

While he currently has two caps to his name, the 28-year-old could earn more gametime if he continues his current form. Pope faces competition from England’s current first choice, Jordan Pickford, and on loan Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson, however.

Pope training with the England goalkeepers at the 2018 World Cup.
Pope training with the England goalkeepers at the 2018 World Cup. / Alex Morton/Getty Images

This season, he's played every minute of Burnley’s Premier League campaign, helping the Clarets to a respectable 10th in the table. With 11 clean sheets in 29 appearances, he tops the league for shutouts - clear of the likes of Alisson and David de Gea.

Burnley are unbeaten in their last seven league games, keeping four clean sheets in the process. They will be eager to extend their unbeaten run next month, when the Premier League is set to return on 17 June - three months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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