Heaton '“ It's no surprise Pope has taken his chance with both hands
Clarets skipper Tom Heaton has put aside his personal disappointment to hail Nick Pope ahead of his World Cup odyssey.
Pope made his England debut on Thursday night at Elland Road, replacing Jack Butland for the final 25 minutes of the 2-0 win.
The Three Lions fly out to Russia today, where they will be based in Repino, around 30 miles from St Petersburg.
Heaton has been on the standby list for Gareth Southgate’s squad, but will not be on the plane, after a season where he suffered a dislocated shoulder in September.
Pope came in for his first Premier League action, and his subsequent form saw him called up for the first time at any level by his country back in March.
And Heaton admits Pope’s rise hasn’t been a shock to him: “I’m delighted for him. We have a fantastic relationship, we really enjoy each others company and we enjoy competing against each other.
“He’s been absolutely outstanding this season and he deserves his slot. I’ve enjoyed working with him (with England). That starts again in pre-season.
“I’m made up for him to be there, and from my point of view I’m looking forward to locking horns again next season.
It’s no surprise (how well he’s done) for us inside the building, we saw it day in and day out.
“You just need the platform to do it sometimes. and he got that when I got injured.
“He took his opportunity and hasn’t looked back. It’s a great story for him and a great journey he’s been on.”
Stoke City’s Butland started the Three Lions’ final World Cup warm-up game at Leeds, with Pope introduced in the 65th minute to crown a remarkable season.
The game finished 2-0 courtesy of a stunning strike from Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford after 13 minutes, and a second from substitute Danny Welbeck, of Arsenal, with 14 minutes remaining.
Pope became Burnley’s 29th senior England international in the process, and the third to make his debut this season, after Jack Cork against Germany, and James Tarkowski against Italy.
England’s first game in Group G against Tunisia on Monday at the Volgograd Arena. They then face Panama at the Stadion Nizhny Novgorod on June 24th before taking on Belgium at the Kaliningrad Stadium on June 28th.