England boss Gareth Southgate disappointed for “unselfish” Burnley keeper Nick Pope

England boss Gareth Southgate has spoken of his disappointment after knee surgery ruled Burnley keeper Nick Pope out of his Euro 2020 plans.

Nick Pope
Nick Pope

Southgate today named a provisional 33-man squad, which will be whittled down to 26 next Tuesday, but Pope was not one of four keepers named, as he underwent a cartilage operation after missing the last three games of the Premier League season.

Pope had started the last three England games in March, with Jordan Pickford out injured, and he was a part of the squad at the last major international tournament, the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

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Southgate hailed his contribution behind the scenes in Russia - where England won a World Cup penalty shootout for the first time, beating Columbia, as the Three Lions reached the semi-finals.

Southgate said: “It’s heartbreaking to get an injury so close to a major tournament.

“He’s been a fantastic member of our squad, totally unselfish guy, in Russia he spent hour after hour throwing himself around at penalties, which was as import in our success in the penalty shootout as the guys that took them.

“Him and Jack Butland were phenomenal in those situations, so I’m really disappointed for him, it obviously opens up opportunities for others, and Sam (Johnstone) and Aaron (Ramsdale) have finished the season well with their clubs, and Dean is in that battle for the number one spot at Manchester United at the moment.

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“And Jordan has finished the season really strongly since he’s come back from his injury, his focus, his calmness in goal has really stood out.

“So I’m very pleased with his form.”