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Nick Pope admits he must improve to usurp Jordan Pickford as England’s No.1

Nick Pope admits he must improve in every department if he wants to become England’s No1.

England boss Gareth Southgate will play Burnley keeper Pope against Republic of Ireland but insisted last week that no-one is ready to challenge Jordan Pickford.

Pope, 28, will get an audition at Wembley but even he admits that it could take up to three years to oust Pickford because he needs to be consistent on a regular basis.

When asked what he needs to do to bridge the gap, Pope said: “A bit of everything to be honest. When you are second in line or third in line, your aspiration is to go up the spots. That is what it is like as a keeper and most positions.

“Keepers get more attention for that sort of thing. You have to be consistent for Burnley and England. This is an opportunity for myself to play with England players in an England team.

“It is important to play well in those games as Jordan has done for England for a couple of years, He has been top draw. I need to play well in that environment.

“I think it’s fair to say he’s number one at the minute. If you look at the last 25, 30 fixtures, he’d have played probably 28 of them.

“So, a person with that sort of record in the national team, I think, deserves to be called number one, has earned it. It’s not happened overnight. It’s happened over two, three years consistent playing for your country.

“So, I think it’s fair to say he’s number one at the minute, not to say that that doesn’t change whenever the time may be. For a goalkeeper, you’ve got to keep working and – like any player does – earn your right to be in the squad and fighting hard to make your way into the team.”

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