England number one jersey up for grabs, admits Gareth Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate admits "It's for them to go and claim the shirt" as he weighs up the battle for the number one jersey.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 2:52 pm
Nick Pope in England training

Everton's Jordan Pickford is the recognised number one, since making his debut in November 2017, establishing himself at the World Cup in Russia the following summer.

But Burnley's Nick Pope started England's last game, in November last year - a 4-0 win against Kosovo in Pristina, and he and Manchester United's Dean Henderson, who impressed on loan with Sheffield United, are pushing Pickford hard.

Looking at Sky Sports' Power Rankings from last season, Pope edged out Henderson as England's best performing keeper - just missing out to Manchester City's Ederson for the Golden Glove on the last day of the season.

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And Pickford's performances place him below Aaron Ramsdale, Alex McCarthy and Ben Foster.

Southgate has a lot of faith in Pickford, but he is looking forward to a battle for the shirt: "I think we've had a period of 10 months without a game, and within that period, there has been various fluctuations in form across every position.

"Although we had great momentum before the break, I think for every international team that momentum stopped, and we've got to find a way of restarting and reconnecting with the team, getting back up to speed with how we work, and there is competition for places in every position on the pitch.

"I can only say of Jordan that in his 24 caps for us, he's been excellent, his performances for England have always been at a high level.

"I think it's fair to say he's had a challenging period with his club, but I think all of the goalkeepers on the list have had good moments and goals have gone in they would have hoped to have done better with.

"So we're looking forward to getting back working with them, first and foremost, and it's for them to go and claim the shirt."