Burnley's Nick Pope — a record-breaker on the international stage — addresses England situation with Qatar World Cup on the horizon
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Despite creating history for the Three Lions last year, the 29-year-old has somehow slipped down the pecking order under Gareth Southgate.
The Clarets' two-time Player of the Year became 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 hasn't been invited back to St George's Park since a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Poland 11 months ago.
"It would be good, as getting into any England squad is for any individual," said Pope.
“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.
Pope said: "The FA has enough scouts to be watching every player. If you’re not called up, that’s the opinion of the manager on the back of trusted eyes. It’s not based on rumour and stories.
“It’s something that if it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. There are a big few weeks for myself and this club which need concentrating on and there will be big weeks after the international break. It’s something that will look after itself.”
While Pope still has strong aspirations of rejoining the group, and challenging the likes of Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone and Dean Henderson for the number one spot, he fully appreciates that there's a much more important task at hand.
PFA Premier League Team of the Year entrant for 2019-20 feels it would be disrespectful of his manager, his team-mates, the club and the fans if he was distracted from Burnley's survival bid.
Ahead of England's encounters with Switzerland and Maxwel Cornet's Ivory Coast next month, he said: “I’m not hoping at all because it’s so long away and there are a lot of important games at the minute. So for me to have half an eye on that would be disrespectful to this club and my team-mates.
“It’s something I haven’t given much thought to. To think anything else would not be doing justice to my team-mates, my manager and the club and the fans here.
“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.”