England boss Gareth Southgate has a number of very difficult calls to make. The postponement of the Euros was frustrating for many but it was, in ways, a good thing for the Three Lions.
Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were both expected to miss the competition and that would have been a huge blow for England had the Euros taken place this summer.
Southgate won’t have it easy next year either. The England boss will have a lot to consider across all positions, but none more so than between the sticks.
Everton’s Jordan Pickford has been England’s first-choice goalkeeper for a while now. The former Sunderland man has had his critics in the Premier League this season and it seems increasingly likely that his place will be taken by someone else.
Burnley’s Nick Pope has been in inspired form this term. The Englishman has 14 clean sheets in the Premier League this season; joint top with Manchester City’s Ederson.
Pope for England?
Garth Crooks wrote on his column on the BBC about England’s goalkeeping situation and he feels that there is no question about who should be Southgate’s number one.
Crooks said: “He’s (Pope) a candidate for the golden gloves award and after his performance against Liverpool I’m not surprised. Nick Pope had probably wished he could have avoided the Premier League champions at this late stage of the season.
“Nevertheless the Burnley keeper was in brilliant form against Liverpool. He may not have kept a clean sheet but the game would have been well out of Burnley’s reach had it not been for the England international.
“Questions are now being posed about whether Pope should be England’s number one goalkeeper. Based on his performance against Liverpool there is no question about it. The answer is yes.”
Pope definitely deserves to be ahead of Pickford and other English goalkeepers in the pecking order.
The Burnley man, along with Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson, has arguably had a better season than Pickford and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Everton man drop down to being England’s third choice very soon.