Pope targeting December return after shoulder injury

Clarets keeper Nick Pope is targeting a return to action in December.

Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 10:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th September 2018, 10:37 am
File photo dated 26-07-2018 of Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 1, 2018 Burnley will seek UEFA dispensation to bring in a goalkeeper for their Europa League qualifier against Aberdeen after injuries to Nick Pope and Tom Heaton, manager Sean Dyche has announced. See PA story SOCCER Burnley. Photo credit should read Ian Rutherford/PA Wire.

Pope suffered a dislocated shoulder early in Burnley’s Europa League second qualifying round first leg tie at Aberdeen in July – his first action since returning from the World Cup with England.

It was a cruel coincidence, given his big break came a year ago yesterday, making his Premier League bow against Crystal Palace after Tom Heaton suffered a similar injury.

Heaton was back on the bench at Watford in April, but Pope is hoping his recovery doesn’t take as long, and he can get back to challenging the club captain and summer signing Joe Hart.

Pope, speaking on Soccer AM, said: “I’m looking at December hopefully.

“Everything since the surgery has gone really well.

“It was a bit of a challenge and it popped out the front.

“I was laying on the physio table at the stadium and they had a go at popping it back in, but they couldn’t do it after four attempts.

“They started filling me with morphine, which was fantastic!

“They gave me 20ml which was legally the maximum they could give me.”

Pope is quite philosophical about the misfortune, however: “If anything sums football up, it’s probably that.

“You’re riding off the high of the 10 months beforehand and being part of a World Cup squad, and then it’s a blow within 15 minutes and you’re on the floor and there’s nothing you can do.

“It’s something that’s happened now, and the only thing I can do is get on with it.

“People will say it’s bad timing or whatever, but, for me, it could have been a lot worse.

“What if it had happened in January or February or whenever?

“Then I’m not going to the World Cup, I’m not finishing the season.

“If I had done it when I made my debut against Palace, or the next week against Liverpool, then none of that season happens.

“Or if I had done it in my first season at Burnley, then the next season probably doesn’t happen either.

“It’s just one of those things, and whether it’s good or bad timing, you never really know.

“I look at it in a way that it probably could have been a lot worse.

“It’s a new challenge for myself, and that’s the way I’ve got to look at it, and make sure I come back flying.

“It’s a setback, but it’s not the end of the world.

“It’s not season-ending, it’s just something that’s happened and it’s time out to concentrate on working on my game. I can still work on myself and things I could have done better.”