World Cup 2018: England’s Nick Pope says it will be ‘every man for themselves’

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    Pope (second left) has impressed this season for Burnley

    Burnley’s Nick Pope says it will be “every man for themselves” in the fight to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup this summer.

    Pope has been called up to the international squad for the first time for the forthcoming friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy.

    The 25-year-old is joined in the squad by Everton’s Jordan Pickford, Stoke’s Jack Butland and Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who is on loan at West Ham.

    “I want it to be me,” Pope said.

    “It would be a massive honour to represent your country and to go to a World Cup.

    Pope has kept more clean sheets and conceded fewer Premier League goals than the other three goalkeepers in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

    He only made his first top-flight debut in September – replacing the injured Tom Heaton – having joined Burnley from Charlton in 2016.

    Pope does not think a lack of experience at international or European level should count against players when it comes to England selection.

    “You have got to be hungry, greedy and have to push yourself,” he added. “It is a new challenge and a challenge I want to take on.”

    After naming his 27-man squad, Southgate said the number one jersey at the World Cup was “up for grabs”.

    Last week, Butland said he was “up for the battle” of securing the starting place.

    Butland, 25, started England’s most recent qualifier – against Lithuania – but Hart has been the regular first choice for the past six years and Pickford made his international debut against Germany last November.

    “If I wasn’t in this squad, for a shot at the World Cup, I was an outsider at least,” Pope said.

    “I have got to prove myself at this level. I am happy to be here but want to prove myself. I want to play for England.”

    More to follow.

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