Nick Pope puts England Euro dreams on back-burner for Burnley!
The 28-year-old won’t allow the carrot of this summer’s European Championships detract from the task in hand.
Premier League survival is of paramount importance to the Clarets shot stopper, and his contribution towards that objective will determine anything that follows.
“I think it is about cracking on,” said Pope, who had made his 100th appearance for the club against West Ham United at the London Stadium
“England is something that is a couple of times a year, there are three breaks that come quite rapidly and then there is a long middle period, the main part of the season until March, and then into the summer and hoping to have an international tournament.
“It goes on the back-burner for myself personally. If you take too much time or energy thinking about that you probably burn out because it is something that is a long way away and you won’t have an answer to that question until March or the end of the season.
“For myself I try to take it week in week out and I know that is a massive cliche, and I am not a massive fan of that, but it is something that worked for me when I first got into the team and it helps me stay grounded and not get too far ahead of myself.
“I think from an England point of view I just want to keep putting in good performances, focus on my own game and playing well for Burnley.”
Burnley’s two-time Player of the Year, who was included in last season’s PFA Premier League Team of the Year, certainly isn’t doing his credentials any harm.
Pope, ranked in the WhoScored top three keepers on the continent in 2020, has returned 21 clean sheets in just under a season-and-a-half.
Only Manchester City’s Golden Glove winner, Ederson, can better Pope’s tally over that period.
“It’s not something that I think about week in, week out, but it’s something that I’m massively looking forward to,” said Pope, who was a part of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad that reached the semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
“I’m hoping to be a part of it, it’s the European Championships in your own country so it’s definitely something that’s exciting and good to look at in the future.
“It doesn’t keep me up at night, and I don’t think about it too much in the day, but it’s something that I can enjoy when it comes along.”
The ex-Charlton Athletic man, who has earned four caps for the Three Lions, added: “Clean sheets come from many different aspects, they are something we pride ourselves on. It’s a good trait to have.
“I’m quite happy, but I still feel there’s room for improvement moving forward.
“What we’re quite good at at Burnley is to think we’re always evolving. We’re never the finished article, we’re always chasing perfection and chasing to be better.
“So I think while I would say I’ve done OK this season in some games, I’d still like to take that on another level.”
England begin their World Cup qualifying campaign in March when they face San Marino, Albania and Poland in Group I.
They are then scheduled to take on Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic in Group D of the Euros in June.