Nick Pope has linked up with the England squad for the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany. The 30-year-old stands a very good chance of adding to his 8 caps with number one Jordan Pickford not involved with a thigh injury.
Both Pope and Pickford have been sensational for their respective clubs to start this campaign. Pope is up against Nottingham Forest’s on loan keeper Dean Henderson and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale to be in the net for Friday’s match at the San Siro against Italy.
Pope last played for England in March keeping a clean sheet in a friendly against the Ivory Coast. His last matches of significance for his country was the previous March when he started three World Cup Qualifiers, all three of which were wins.
He recently touched on his involvement with England as well as the successful start to his Newcastle career. Here is some of what Nick said as published in The Shields Gazette:
“I think international football’s something that’s earned by how you play for your club.
“Newcastle now will hopefully be seen, and be grown to be seen, as a club where internationals will regularly come from.
“Moving here, and playing in this team, is something that will help me get England caps. I’m never going to be a goalkeeper that gets 50, 60 caps.
“I’m 30. I’m not being unrealistic, but I feel there’s more for me, and I want to see how many I get. It’s another ambition.
“I was lucky enough to be part of the last one. I was unlucky or unfortunate to miss out on the Euros because of my knee surgery, so that fire’s still burning for myself.
“Being part of a major tournament for England is the biggest stage you can possibly get to.
“In a footballer’s career, you don’t see too many. If you get to three World Cups, you’ve done unbelievably well. It’s special to have that opportunity, and it’ll be a target.”
Newcastle haven’t had many England internationals in the recent past. Now there are two in the ranks in Pope and right-back Kieran Trippier. They are the first to get England caps as Magpies since Andros Townsend in 2016.
While it’s close, if Gareth Southgate goes on recent form, Pope should be in between the goalposts in Milan on Friday. He is joint top with Brentford’s David Raya with 30 saves. His 3 clean sheets are joint-second behind Man City’s Ederson, though Ramsdale has 3 as well.
Pope was nominated for August’s Premier League Player of the Month while winning the month’s best save award. He could edge out Ramsdale and Henderson, though the competition is stiff.