Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits it will be a tough choice when it comes round to selecting his number one to start the new Premier League season.
Dyche had admitted before the end of last season, that one of the three could leave the club this summer, saying: “I think it’s probable, but not definite. It’s likely one of them says ‘look, I’m going to go elsewhere’.”
Pope signed a new deal over the summer, to 2023, with the option of a further 12 months, having not featured in the Premier League last season after dislocating his shoulder.
There has been speculation that Joe Hart and Tom Heaton could both leave the club, with Heaton entering the last year of his contract, amid strong interest from Aston Villa.
But all three are currently vying for the jersey.
That was a situation Dyche was more than happy with, however, as he added: “No guarantee though, if they’re all here in pre-season, great, I want the team and squad to get stronger and stronger and stronger.
“I want all those hard decisions, but they’ve got to look the other way and say ‘I appreciate that, but I want to be playing every week’, and they can’t all play.
“They’re contracted to the club and I’m the manager, so I completely see it from my perspective, I just choose to look at it from both perspectives because I think it’s fair.
“I try and do that with all my players.
“If you sit in someone else’s shoes, it gives you a more balanced view.”
He certainly has one of those hard decisions, with the England internationals all in contention for the opener at Turf Moor against Southampton a fortnight on Saturday.
In Portugal against Fulham, Pope and Hart played half each, while against Accrington Stanley and Tranmere Rovers at Barnfield, Pope, Hart, Heaton and Adam Legzdins all got 45 minutes.
On Saturday, Pope played the full 90 minutes at Crewe, while Heaton and Hart shared duties at Port Vale.
And Hart played the entirety of the win at Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night, with Heaton on the bench and Pope not risked with a tight groin.
Asked about how difficult it was juggling the three, Dyche said: “It has not been difficult so far, but it gets more difficult when we get right to the end of pre-season, because everybody will want to start looking and see who is going to play.
“But at the moment it is fine.
“I thought Joe did really well (against Fleetwood), really safe hands, very confident performance and I was pleased with that.
“He is a top keeper.”
Heaton is expected to play at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, as Dyche mixes his line-up again: “It will be a mixed situation again this weekend, that is the plan.
“But we will be working, Thursday will be a double, it will be a tough day,
“Friday will be a bit calmer again but still work
“We will mix the teams again on Saturday, not necessarily 45s, but we will mix the teams and see on the levels of training.
“We have GPS so we know the mileage, the pace and the tempo of the game and we will monitor all that.
“After that, quite obviously it will ease slightly and be more sharp work rather than miles in the legs.”