Nick Pope: Burnley goalkeeper eyes England number one shirt but admits 'there's a long way to go'

Nick Pope: The Burnley goalkeeper is targeting the number one spot for his country
Nick Pope: The Burnley goalkeeper is targeting the number one spot for his country

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has set his sights on becoming England number one but admits it will take time to displace friend and rival Jordan Pickford.

Pope's dislocated shoulder, mere weeks after earning his sole England cap and being an unused squad member at the 2018 World Cup, largely ensured he did not feature for the Clarets in the Premier League last season.

The 27-year-old has re-established himself as Burnley's first-choice custodian in the last couple of months and his early-season form has led to call-ups in the last two England squads.

Ahead of linking up with his international team-mates next week for their Euro 2020 qualifying trips to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Pope admitted becoming Gareth Southgate's first choice is a major motivation.

"It's something that I can say now is an aim for me, something to look at, there's obviously a long way to go," Pope said.

"We're seven games into this season, I've just come off an injury of six months of last season, so something that's maybe not in the immediate future but something that longer-term I can think of as being a goal of mine.

"To have that cap was a massive privilege and honour, to be able to do that and be part of the World Cup squad. That's one dream fulfilled, it's kind of moving on and setting new targets and new goals."

Jordan Pickford makes the save to win a penalty shootout for England against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League
Jordan Pickford makes the save to win a penalty shootout for England against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League

England boss Gareth Southgate during their win over Bulgaria
England boss Gareth Southgate during their win over Bulgaria

Tom Heaton's departure to Aston Villa over the summer smoothed Pope's passage at Burnley although the pair are the main challengers to Everton shot-stopper Pickford with England.

Pope, though, insists all three spur each other on, adding: "We get on great as friends and when we do get to catch up, we get on really well. But when training time comes along we really try and push each other to get better.

"That's the environment for goalkeeping. It's something you're used to and built into you as a goalkeeper growing up is that when you train with other goalkeepers, you push each other to the next level."

The 27-year-old says he is "looking forward to seeing Jordan" ahead of Everton's trip to Turf Moor this weekend, where Burnley will be without Danny Drinkwater and almost certainly fellow midfielder Jack Cork as well.

Drinkwater is continuing his recovery from an ankle injury while Burnley are reluctant to take any risks with Cork, who suffered a minor fracture to his shoulder blade during the 2-2 draw at Villa last weekend.

Reflecting on his own time on the sidelines, Pope added: "Injuries are the toughest thing about football, watching everyone else training and you're stuck in the gym or in a room with the physio getting treatment.

"The early weeks when your arm is in a sling and you can't move, and you've got to sleep sitting up, they are the slowest times.

"(Being back playing) is something I can appreciate more having come through it.

"I like to think I appreciated it before but the high of being at the World Cup, coming back and then three days later having the injury - it makes you realise one day everything can be fine and then the next it can be taken away really quickly.

"It's definitely helped me with that."

Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLifeFC

Related football links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

Jurgen Klopp reacts during Liverpool's draw with Manchester United1

Klopp blasts United's system

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his frustration at Manchester United's defensive approach when they come up against Liverpool.

Marcus Rashford in action at Old Trafford2

Tom McDermott: Sunday reflections

Tom McDermott analyses Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford and wonders what ramifications the result will have for both sides for the rest of the season.

Adam Lallana celebrates his goal at Old Trafford3

Lallana denies United victory

Adam Lallana's late strike secured a point for Liverpool at Old Trafford. Watch the highlights of the Premier League clash.

Sporting Life's preview of Sheffield United v Arsenal4

Blades to strike on Monday night

Sheffield United welcome Arsenal to Bramall Lane on Monday night. Tom Carnduff picks out two best bets at attractive prices.

Premier League and EFL football gossip and transfer rumours5

Paper Talk: Pay the man

Christian Eriksen's potential future club has taken another twist, while Raheem Sterling is on the brink of a new mega-contract.

Most Read Football

Jurgen Klopp reacts during Liverpool's draw with Manchester United1

Klopp blasts United's system

Jurgen Klopp has expressed his frustration at Manchester United's defensive approach when they come up against Liverpool.

Marcus Rashford in action at Old Trafford2

Tom McDermott: Sunday reflections

Tom McDermott analyses Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford and wonders what ramifications the result will have for both sides for the rest of the season.

Adam Lallana celebrates his goal at Old Trafford3

Lallana denies United victory

Adam Lallana's late strike secured a point for Liverpool at Old Trafford. Watch the highlights of the Premier League clash.

Sporting Life's preview of Sheffield United v Arsenal4

Blades to strike on Monday night

Sheffield United welcome Arsenal to Bramall Lane on Monday night. Tom Carnduff picks out two best bets at attractive prices.

Premier League and EFL football gossip and transfer rumours5

Paper Talk: Pay the man

Christian Eriksen's potential future club has taken another twist, while Raheem Sterling is on the brink of a new mega-contract.

Football Tips

Sporting Life's preview of Sheffield United v Arsenal

Blades to strike on Monday night

Sheffield United welcome Arsenal to Bramall Lane on Monday night. Tom Carnduff picks out two best bets at attractive prices.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate a goal for Arsenal in Valencia

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in October 2019.

Sporting Life's preview of Manchester United v Liverpool

Target these two at Old Trafford

Super Sunday sees the return of one of the Premier League's biggest rivalries as Manchester United take on Liverpool, and Tom Carnduff has a brace of bets.