Burnley boss Sean Dyche feels Nick Pope is “pushing hard” to be England’s number one
Sean Dyche feels Nick Pope is “pushing hard” for the England number one jersey.
Pope claimed his third cap in the 3-0 friendly win against Wales last Thursday, but Everton keeper Jordan Pickford started both Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark, despite recent concerns over his club form.
With the delayed Euro 2020 tournament in the summer, competition is hotting up to be the top man, with Manchester United’s Dean Henderson also in the mix, although his appearances have been limited to the Carabao Cup.
And Dyche said: "It is up to Gareth – I think there’s a lot of noise out there just now, outside of Gareth and myself, with pundits and other people in football talking about it.
"I’m certainly not going to put words into Gareth’s mouth.
"I’m still amazed James Tarkowski is not involved. That’s a big surprise to me. Dwight (McNeil) was involved again (with the Under 21s), and I have to say I totally respect how tough it is for Gareth.
"You’ve got to look at form, how you want to play etcetera,
"But I certainly think Popey is pushing hard. If you’re in the squad you’ve got to be considered as someone who can start."
While Pickford's form has been questioned, Pope went into international duty having given away a penalty in the 3-1 defeat at Newcastle - a rare error in a meteoric rise.
And Dyche noted: "The thing about goalkeepers is you need to be resilient mentally, and your focus needs to be hot on what you have to do, and I think he has both those qualities.
"I think he’s a top keeper, and it’s rare that even top keepers don’t have a bad moment, and at Newcastle he had one – but he hasn’t had many by the way, and he’s had a lot of very good moments for us.
"And I was delighted to see him get a start (for England).
"When I first came here I don’t think anyone would have mentioned any Burnley players in England terms – certainly not in our first promotion season from the Championship.
"When we were in the Prem you might have thrown Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier on the edge of that, but not really that strongly at that time.
"But since then we have had a fair bit of recognition. Someone sent me a really nice photograph of four lads from the club standing in a line - Tripps, Popey, Keano, and Ingsy. and hopefully that shows the progression we’ve made and what we helped them achieve as players.
"They’ve all done well at Burnley, and gone on to play for England, and that’s a big thing for a club like us."