England goalkeeper Nick Pope talks about stretching clean sheet record ahead of World Cup qualifier against Poland

Record-breaker Nick Pope is hoping to secure a seventh successive clean sheet when England take on Poland at Wembley on Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 2:10 pm
England's goalkeeper Nick Pope drinks water during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between Albania and England at the Air Albania Stadium, in Tirana on March 28, 2021.
England's goalkeeper Nick Pope drinks water during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between Albania and England at the Air Albania Stadium, in Tirana on March 28, 2021.

But the Burnley goalkeeper, who eclipsed former Claret Chris Woods' international record at the weekend, knows he'll be made to work a bit harder for it.

The 28-year-old, who has kept 35 clean sheets in the Premier League, barely had a save to make in World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Albania.

The Three Lions' latest opponents in Group I, however, have scored six times and managed 11 shots on target in games against Hungary and Andorra.

England's goalkeeper Nick Pope (L) catches the ball past Albania's forward Myrto Uzuni during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group I football match between Albania and England at the Air Albania Stadium, in Tirana on March 28, 2021.

Poland will be without their captain and all-time leading goalscorer Robert Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker was ruled out with a knee injury.

However, Pope appreciates that Paulo Sousa's side are way more than a one man team.

"I've had some good ones," said Pope, who joined Ben Foster and Aaron Ramsdale for 'The Matchday Show'. "I've been quite fortunate with my games.

"It started three years ago against Costa Rica, which was 20 minutes, so it's been a good ride so far. I wouldn't mind making it seven!

Nick Pope of England rolls the ball out during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium on March 25, 2021 in London, England.

"They [Poland] are a proper team, they've been a good team for a number of years now. They've got an experienced manager with good players playing in the top leagues. They've all got a lot of caps between them.

"It's been a good build up throughout the week, starting at San Marino and then going to Albania. We're going up another level, which is good for the progression of the team."

The debate over who should be given the number one shirt for the European Championships this summer continues to intensify.

Pope has stepped up after Gareth Southgate's regular choice, Jordan Pickford, was left nursing a rib injury sustained in Everton's defeat against Burnley at Goodison Park prior to the international break.

The duo, along with Manchester United's Dean Henderson and West Brom's Sam Johnstone, will fight it out between themselves before the tournament gets underway on June 11th.

But Burnley's Player of the Year, who was just beaten to the Golden Glove by Ederson last term, says the 'GK Union' will be helping each other out along the way.

"It's a massive thing, whether you're with your club or country," said Pope, when asked about the togetherness within the squad. "You're relying on each other for service and support so that you get a good session in and improve yourselves.

"If one person's letting the union down, they're letting themselves down and ultimately hurting the session. It's a massive thing and everyone's pulling in the same direction.

"Here, and at Burnley, we've got that really good mix; you want that competitive edge because you want to play games but, when you're not playing, it's important that you're supporting the other goalkeepers."

The ex-Charlton Athletic stopper, who cited Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez as his goalkeeper of the season in the top flight, continues to cherish his education in the game.

Pope has worked alongside Billy Mercer at The Barnfield Training Centre at Gawthorpe for the past four-and-a-bit years while England goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson has imparted his knowledge and experience during camps at St George's Park.

He said: "It's good to be different. You're with your club for nine months of the year and you're working on things and talking about things.

"When you come away with England you get a new set of eyes, new drills and there are new people to impress. It's good to have a mix and try new things, see new things and have another voice that you can trust."