Burnley duo deserve England recalls on form, says boss Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche believes it'll take some 'very, very strong' players to prevent Burnley duo Nick Pope and James Tarkowski from getting England recalls.

The Clarets boss has never questioned Gareth Southgate's motives over squad selections in the past, but the Premier League's longest-serving manager has been perplexed that the pair have been overlooked for so long.

Tarkowski, whose contract at Turf Moor runs out in the summer, hasn't received international recognition for three years, since being an unused substitute for European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

The 29-year-old, capped twice in 2018, deserves to be back in the fold at St George's Park on form, according to Dyche, ahead of friendlies against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.

Burnley's English manager Sean Dyche gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Burnley at Brentford Community Stadium in London on March 12, 2022.

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"It's no question of Gareth [Southgate] and what he has to do, it's just purely on form," he said. "I've only ever remarked that if there are centre-halves out there playing better than Tarky then they must be playing very, very well, and equally with Popey, and other players, but certainly those two.

"I still think that's valid. Obviously the league table sometimes makes a difference to your thinking, not my thinking, but if you were choosing players maybe that would make a difference."

History-maker Pope has now gone 12 months without an invite, despite keeping a record-breaking six successive clean sheets for the Three lions beforehand.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper — who had been a part of the group for the 2018 World Cup in Russia — was last seen in action in a 2-1 win over Poland during the World Cup qualification process for Qatar.

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England's defender James Tarkowski (L) vies with Italy's striker Federico Chiesa during the International friendly football match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London on March 27, 2018. The game finished 1-1.

The two-time Player of the Year, with seven clean sheets this season, was on the bench for three more Group I games in September, but was absent for subsequent fixtures in October and November.

"I'm just looking at Popey and Tarky thinking 'well, there must be some very, very strong players in the Premier League' if they're not at least in the squad, not necessarily in the team," said Dyche.

"Gareth has got a goalkeeper, the lad from West Brom [Sam Johnstone], who has been in the squad, so therefore it's nothing to do with levels then, is it? Quite obviously because he should be in the Premier League if it's purely to do with levels."

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ENFIELD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: Nick Pope of England dives for the ball during a training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on September 04, 2021 in Enfield, England.