Nick Pope Continues to Go From Strength to Strength Ahead of Euro 2020

Despite being engulfed in off the field issues - from contracts being allowed to run down to behind the scenes disharmony - Burnley have been one of the most successful sides since football returned in June.

This would likely not have been predicted after they were beaten 5-0 by Manchester City in their first game back, but since their thumping at the Etihad, the Clarets have taken 11 points from a possible 15 and conceded just twice.

Sean Dyche's side battled to a draw with champions Liverpool on Saturday in their latest impressive display - becoming the first away side to not taste defeat at Anfield in the Premier League this season.

Burnley grabbed a valiant point at Anfield, and have been excellent since the return of football

Key to Burnley's fine defensive record has been Nick Pope. The goalkeeper is one of a selection of players who could benefit from the European Championships being postponed for a year, as he continues to grow in confidence, stature and value with every Premier League display.

The Clarets' number one turned in a magnificent performance at Anfield, producing a one-man highlights reel of top drawer saves.

The most eye catching of which came in the first half, where, despite being unsighted and not seeing Mohamed Salah's sweetly struck volley until late, he still managed to claw the Egyptian's goal bound effort off away to safety - it was David Seaman-esque against Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi final (but slightly less spectacular).

Pope carried on from where he left off after a man of the match display during Burnley's 1-0 victory over West Ham. Be it his feet, legs, hands, arms or body, the 28-year-old flung anything and everything in the way as the Hammers' shots rained down, but he kept them at bay to preserve a well deserved clean sheet.

He is fast becoming the man for the big occasions, and one who England boss Gareth Southgate cannot ignore for much longer. The one quality that current first-choice Jordan Pickford, who has been steady but not spectacular for Everton, currently holds over Pope is international experience.

Pickford has 24 England caps and was an integral part of the Three Lions side that reached the semi finals of the 2018 World Cup.

Pope, despite being two years Pickford's senior, has just two England caps, and has only played one competitive match for his country.

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But with the Euros now pushed back to 2021, Southgate now has 11 months to put his faith in Pope and provide him with the international experience to rival Pickford.

Furthermore, is the Burnley goalkeeper's lack of international experience even a valid reason to not make him England number one for the Euros? It's tough to argue that it is.

Pickford received his first international call up less than a year before the 2018 World Cup and had just three caps to his name when he travelled to Russia - and this is the tournament where Pickford arguably produced the best form of his career.

Pope's slightly unconventional route to the top is also a major plus when it comes to the Three Lions. Southgate's 2018 squad was famously a 23 of misfits - an assortment of players who had endured setbacks, loan spells and plied their trade in the lower leagues en route to representing their country.

Pope's lack of international experience shouldn't be an issue heading into the Euros

Having been released by Ipswich Town as a teenager, Pope made his name at Suffolk non-league side Bury Town before being picked up by Charlton - epitomising the kind of graft and groundedness that Southgate is known to value.

And with the Pope-inspired point at Anfield leaving Burnley just a point of seventh place, the Clarets' stopper may not have to wait until the summer of 2021 for a European adventure.

Source : 90min