Pope gets England call-up

ENGLAND CALL-UP: Nick Pope (pictured playing for Charlton Athletic) is due to be in the latest England squad
ENGLAND CALL-UP: Nick Pope (pictured playing for Charlton Athletic) is due to be in the latest England squad

It is our understanding that former Bury Town goalkeeper Nick Pope will be part of the England squad for upcoming friendlies with Holland and Italy when it is announced at 2pm.

The confirmation will complete a rapid rise for the Burnley stopper, who did not turn out in the Premier League for the first time until last September.

RAPID RISE: Nick Pope in action for Bury Town in 2010

RAPID RISE: Nick Pope in action for Bury Town in 2010

Pope was called off the bench against Crystal Palace on September 10 to replace the injured Tom Heaton and he has not looked back, keeping a total of 10 clean sheets and letting in just 22 goals.

That is a better record than any of his compatriots, with Pope also having the second best save success rate (77.5 per cent) in the top flight behind Manchester United’s Dave de Gea (80.2 per cent) — no other English goalkeeper has more than 70 per cent.

The 25-year-old, who hails from Wicken, played for Bury Town between 2008 and 2011 before signing for League One club Charlton Athletic.

A numbers of loan spells at the likes of Cambridge United, Bury and York City followed, with Burnley swooping for his services in the summer of 2016.

The West Suffolk College graduate signed a new three-year contract at Turf Moor in October 2017.

And now he will be preparing for life on the international scene as England take on the Dutch in Amsterdam on March 23, followed by a Wembley date with the Italians on March 27.

* For reaction to Pope’s call-up from Richard Wilkins — his tutor at West Suffolk and manager at Bury — see tomorrow’s Free Press