Should Pope be England’s No.1?

Burnley
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With Nick Pope continuing to impress between the sticks for Burnley this season, could he soon become the number one choice for England?

Since making his Premier League debut for Burnley in September 2017, Pope has emerged as one of the best goalkeepers in the division and he has been touted for a potential move to the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham.

The 27-year-old came on for the injured Tom Heaton in the first half of a 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace for his first league appearance and the Soham-born star was the number one for the rest of the campaign.

Unfortunately, Pope failed to make a single league outing during the 2018/19 campaign after suffering the same shoulder injury that kept Heaton out for almost all of the 17/18 season.

However, the former Charlton stopper has not let that absence affect him and he regained the starting position this term from Heaton, who made a summer switch to Aston Villa.

Pope was handed his first England start during the recent international break, where he kept a clean sheet in the 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo in what was his second cap for the Three Lions.

With Everton and England’s number one Jordan Pickford coming in for criticism this season, is it time Gareth Southgate makes a change in goal ahead of Euro 2020?

Looking at the Premier League statistics this term, Pope is the top Englishman in almost every goalkeeping category. The Burnley stopper tops the clean sheet department with four, one more than Pickford and two more than Heaton, while he leads in saves (37) and high claims (9).

Clarets boss Sean Dyche has also praised Pope ahead of the Premier League return this weekend, saying he only expects the keeper to improve and get even better.

He said at a press conference on Thursday: “He’s come through a serious injury and keeps delivering performances and I think he continues to improve, as well.”

Pope will be looking to make his 13th league appearance of the season when Burnley make the trip to Vicarage Road on Saturday to take on 18th-place Watford.

The Clarets picked up a 3-0 victory at home to West Ham prior to the international break, snapping a three-game losing run, but the Lancashire outfit haven’t won away from home in their past eight attempts.

This meeting last season ended in a 0-0 draw, with that result extending the Hornets’ unbeaten run against Burnley to two matches.

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