Sky pundit hails 'incredible' Burnley talent, picks out one 'problem' holding him back

Sky Sports pundit Jermaine Beckford has claimed that the only thing preventing Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope from being England’s first choice is his ability with the ball at his feet.
Nick Pope.  (Photo by Molly Darlington - Pool/Getty Images)Nick Pope.  (Photo by Molly Darlington - Pool/Getty Images)
Nick Pope. (Photo by Molly Darlington - Pool/Getty Images)

The Clarets stopper has been in impressive form this season, and kept a clean sheet against Aston Villa on Thursday evening, despite Sean Dyche’s men facing 27 shots – seven of which were on target.

Pope has established himself as a regular member of the Three Lions’ squad in recent seasons, but still finds himself beneath Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the pecking order.

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Reflecting on last night’s match against Villa, Beckford lavished praise on the 28-year-old, and gave a brief explanation of why he believes Gareth Southgate still opts for Pickford between the sticks.

Speaking on Sky Sports News’ Football Show, the pundit said: “He [Pope] is massively pushing him. He’s hot on the heels of Jordan Pickford, and rightly so.

"His goalkeeping ability, his reflexes, are fantastic. They’re genuinely fantastic.

"The problem he has is that when the ball is at his feet, he’s not as comfortable as Jordan Pickford is. I don’t mean to say that sounding disrespectful to him, I’m not being disrespectful.

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"I think he’s an incredible goalkeeper and as soon as he gets his opportunity to play for England, I think it will be difficult for anyone to get him out.

"But I think Jordan Pickford’s ability with the ball at his feet is what’s keeping him as England’s number one.

"Plus, Jordan hasn’t made any real mistakes for England as yet. He’s not let Gareth Southgate down, so Gareth hasn’t got a reason to drop him.”