Former Bury Town and Ipswich Academy keeper Nick Pope set to be named in England’s World Cup squad
- Credit: Archant
Former Bury Town keeper and Ipswich Academy reject Nick Pope looks set to be named in the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Months of speculation, scrutiny and intrigue come to a head this afternoon, when the 23 men charged with taking on the world’s best are revealed.
Their delight will contrast markedly with the disappointment of those missing out on Russia, with Hart - comfortably England’s most experienced player - said to miss the cut.
England boss Gareth Southgate is reported to have called the 75-cap goalkeeper on Monday evening to tell him he would not be in the squad, with uncapped Burnley shot-stopper Pope instead getting the nod alongside Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.
Former West Suffolk College pupil Pope was named in Southgate’s squad for friendlies with Holland and Italy in March, but didn’t see any playing time, making the World Cup pick all the more remarkable.
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He was playing for Bury just seven years ago after being released by Town, before eventually earning a move to League One side Charlton Athletic in 2011.
Once at The Valley, he embarked on a succession of loan spells before finally securing a first team place in 2015.
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His form earned him a move to the Premier League with Burnley last summer and, after replacing injured No.1 Tom Heaton in September, he hasn’t looked back.
Pope was a youngster at Ipswich Town but was released as a 16-year-old and went on to play part-time at Bury, whilst studying at West Suffolk College.
“In my eyes it’s the right decision,” former England defender Rio Ferdinand told Press Association Sport at the BBC’s launch of their World Cup coverage.
“What is Joe Hart going to learn from going to this World Cup? He has been to a World Cup before, he has played tournament football before.
“What is Gareth Southgate going to learn about him? Whereas a young kid... I went to the World Cup in ‘98, didn’t play one minute of football, but it was a great learning curve for me.
“Taking a young kid to go there and experience that I think is a much better way to go.”