Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope learns England fate as Gareth Southgate names his squad
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has been recalled to the England squad by Gareth Southgate for the friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.
The two-time Player of the Year at Turf Moor will rejoin his international team-mates — having missed out on the last two squads — as the Three Lions reconvene at St George's Park next week.
The Euro 2020 finalists will host both games at Wembley Stadium, with the Swiss first up on Saturday, March 26th, kick off at 5-30pm, before Les Éléphants - who could include Maxwel Cornet - follow three days later (7-45pm).
Pope had previously revealed to the Burnley Express that it would mean a great deal to him if he was to get back into the fold in a World Cup year.
Despite creating history for his nation last year, the 29-year-old had slipped down the pecking order and was omitted from the group for WC qualifiers against Andorra, Hungary, Albania and San Marino during October and November.
He had become the first goalkeeper for his country to keep clean sheets in his first six internationals during a World Cup qualifier against Albania at Arena Kombëtare in Tirana.
The ex-Charlton Athletic stopper set his string of clean sheets in motion when replacing Jack Butland in the 65th minute of a friendly against Costa Rica in the summer of 2018.
He followed that up in games against Kosovo, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and San Marino, but hadn't received an invitation to return since a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Poland 12 months ago.
"It would be good, as getting into any England squad is for any individual," Pope had said beforehand.
“You’ve performed at a good level and you’re getting into the elite of the elite in this country, so it’s always an honour and a privilege to get called up to the England squad, any player will tell you that."
Pope, who took his place on the plane to Russia when England matched their best finish (1990) in the FIFA tournament since winning it in 1966, was finally breached by a 58th minute Jakub Moder effort at Wembley Stadium.
The finish was sandwiched in-between a Harry Kane penalty and Harry Maguire's winner as England began their charge in Group I with qualification for the winter World Cup in Qatar on the line.
The PFA Premier League Team of the Year entrant for 2019-20, who has kept seven clean sheets for the Clarets in the Premier League this season, still held aspirations of challenging the likes of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale for the number one spot.
However, he never lost sight of the fact that he had to take care of business for Burnley first. Pope said: "There are a big few weeks for myself and this club which need concentrating on after the international break.
“There are a lot of important games at the minute. So for me to have half an eye on that would have been disrespectful to this club, my team-mates, my manager and the fans. To think anything else would not be doing justice to them.
“The club has done so much for me over the last few years, it’s going to be a team ethic that gets us to where we want to be.”