Burnley boss Sean Dyche on England keeper Nick Pope’s “tough decision” to have operation before Euro 2020

Sean Dyche has spoken of England keeper Nick Pope’s “tough decision” to undergo knee surgery ahead of Euro 2020.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 6:52 pm
Nick Pope

And he hasn’t ruled the 29-year-old out of the tournament, with the Three Lions’ first game on June 13th against Croatia.

Gareth Southgate names his squad on Tuesday, the day of Pope’s operation, and Dyche explained, after the keeper sat out his third-successive game at Sheffield United, the last of the Premier League season: “Popey was hopeful of getting the game done today, to see how it felt, but in the end he had to make a decision, with the medical team as well, so he’ll have a minor operation this week (Tuesday) and we hope that goes well.”

Asked whether he was having the operation in order to be fit for the Euros, or whether it just needed doing, Dyche added: “He needs it (the operation), I think it’s a minor cartilage situation, he just felt a click in his knee, it settled down and he wanted to continue, but yesterday it was one of those, it was awkward and sore, and he just thought he had to get it done.

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”It was quite a simple decision in the end, a tough decision, because we don’t know how long it will take to settle - it shouldn’t take long - but he’s had to make that decision.”

Asked if he still had a chance of making the Euros, Dyche said: ”I don’t know, once he’s had the surgery, we’ll have to see.”

Skipper Ben Mee was also absent at Bramall Lane, as Burnley lost 1-0 to a David McGoldrick goal, and Dyche wasn’t taking away risks going into the summer: “The game the other day, he stretched his groin a little bit, and after last season, going into the close season, we’ve had so many injuries, we need to be careful.“

Burnley finished 17th, 11 points clear of the drop, and after the toughest season of his time at Burnley, Dyche accepts once the side secured safety, they took their foot off the gas a little: “Yeah, we petered out after the Fulham game, and it’s been tough - we were missing two key players again today, and that’s been the story of the season, but within that, we’ve still got 39 points, which is not to be scoffed at.

”We've had to take on the challenge of when we have been missing players, and it’s been tough.

”When we’ve had players fit, we’ve had a very competitive side again.

”I think it didn’t help, but the last couple of games...I’ve got to be careful because these players have given a lot under very tough circumstances, in their lives and on the pitch with loads of games, no reinforcements last summer, so we’ve asked a lot of them, and they’ve delivered over a season.

”Just petered out at the end, which we were a bit worried about after the Fulham game, but we just didn’t have that edge today that you need to win games.

”A poor goal to give away, we huffed and puffed a little bit, didn’t really find the quality you need to open the opposition up, but they’ve given a lot to the cause this season so we have to be careful with that, they’ve been at stretch all season.

”There’s been a lot of good work done, I’m not going to lose sight of that, but the edge has come off since we beat Fulham.”