Nick Pope could create a slice of Burnley history with England

If Nick Pope features in either of England’s Wembley friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast, he will create a slice of Clarets history.

By Chris Boden
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:30 pm

Pope, recalled to Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad after missing out on the last two selections, is expected to add to his seven England caps over the week, with Southgate explaining on Thursday: “We will play more than one goalkeeper across this camp, that was always our plan.”

That was before Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale pulled out injured, to be replaced by West Brom’s Sam Johnstone.

But if Pope pulls on the jersey for an eighth time, he will pull level with the legendary Colin McDonald as Burnley’s most-capped England goalkeeper.

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England goalkeeper Colin McDonald (hands up), team mate Billy Wright and a Brazilian player collide in the air during the England-Brazil World Cup match at Gothenburg, Sweden, 11th June 1958. The match ended in a goalless draw. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

McDonald won his eight caps all in 1958, including all four games at the World Cup in Sweden, where he was recognised as the best goalkeeper at the tournament.

England lost a Group 4 play-off 1-0 to the USSR, but earlier in the group, he kept a clean sheet against eventual winners Brazil in a goal-less draw – the first in World Cup Finals history.

Cruelly, with England, and Burnley, on the cusp of greatness, in March 1959, McDonald broke his leg appearing for the Football League against the League of Ireland in Dublin, and didn’t recover sufficiently to play first team football again.

Pope has by far and away the best record for goals conceded per minutes played for England at one in 520 minutes – the next best being Bill Rowley (Stoke), George Toone (Notts County) and Harry Linacre (Nottingham Forest), who all conceded one in their two appearances for one goal against every 180 minutes.

England's goalkeeper Nick Pope rolls the ball out during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification football match between England and San Marino at Wembley Stadium in London on March 25, 2021. - - NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / POOL / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)