There is currently a big debate about who should be the first-choice goalkeeper for the England national team.
The erratic form of current Everton and England number one Jordan Pickford has raised questions over whether the 25-year-old should still have the number one shirt on merit.
Pope has the kept most clean sheets in the top-flight
One of the options available to England head coach Gareth Southgate is Burnley stopper Nick Pope. The Clarets number one has been in outstanding form this season. In fact, no Premier League goalkeeper can better Pope’s clean sheet tally of 11 this season.
That means he has more clean sheets than the likes of Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and Manchester City’s Ederson, who are considered some of the best goalkeepers in the world game. Pope’s record is certainly an impressive one that’s for sure.
One factor against Burnley star
The 27-year-old is, without doubt, one of the most dependable and solid goalkeepers in the English top-flight. However, one factor that works against him is that he is not as good with the ball at his feet as Jordan Pickford.
This is something that Three Lions head coach Southgate believes is an important attribute for a goalkeeper to have. Pope could of course work on his ability with the ball at his feet. The problem is that Burnley tends to play direct football, so Pope is likely to make fewer short passes to his teammates to develop the skill.
Competition for places
Pope is not the only English goalkeeper who has impressed this season. Sheffield United youngster Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, has kept a credible nine clean sheets in the top-flight. The 22-year-old is certainly a viable option for Southgate.
Pickford’s form has been underwhelming for some time. Southgate is reportedly sticking with the former Sunderland star for now as his first-choice goalkeeper. However, there is certainly competition for places in the position and it is a good problem for the Three Lions head coach.
Does Nick Pope deserve to England’s number one?