Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope in England squad
Burnley’s Nick Pope has been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the opening games of World Cup qualifying.
And Pope is fancied to start games against San Marino (Thursday), Albania (March 28th) and Poland (March 31st), with recognised number one Jordan Pickford ruled out after suffering an “injury to his oblique abdominal muscle” diving to try and save a shot from Johann Berg Gudmundsson in the Clarets 2-1 win at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
That leaves Pope in pole position to add to his four caps, although Dean Henderson – who has started the last three Premier League games for Manchester United, with David De Gea having had a period of quarantine after returning to Spain for the birth of his first child – could come into the equation.
West Brom’s Sam Johnstone has been selected for he first time.
Johnstone has enjoyed an impressive campaign for the Baggies and was a regular in Southgate’s Under 21 squad, although he didn’t earn a cap, as understudy to Jack Butland.
Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale, who has been called up for the senior squad previously, will remain with the Under 21s for the group stages of the UEFA European Championships in Slovenia.
Pope has started games in the last two international get togethers – friendly games against Wales in October and Republic of Ireland in November, playing just one competitive game to date in a Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo in November 2019.
He made his England debut as a substitute against Costa Rica in June 2018.
The squad is: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), SamJohnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Nick Pope (Burnley); Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham, on loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Dominic Calvert-Lewis (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Shaka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).