Nick Pope to start for England against Republic of Ireland

Nick Pope will start in goal for England in Thursday’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland.

Burnley goalkeeper Pope will start the match at Wembley in place of England’s regular No 1, Jordan Pickford.

Pickford has faced increased scrutiny for his performances this season and was briefly dropped by Everton for their defeat at Newcastle earlier this month, before returning to the side for the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

England manager Gareth Southgate has given his backing to Pickford and says there is no one seriously challenging him for the England No 1 shirt.

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“When people say I have been loyal to him, he has deserved that,” said Southgate. “His performances for us have been excellent so that has not been a difficult decision for me.


“We have some competition for places but I would have to say that there is nobody who I think is challenging seriously at the moment to push him out of that position.

“In terms of how his club are looking after him, he has got a hugely experienced manager there who has won everything in the game. He is in a very good place.”

Pickford could return to the starting line-up for England’s crucial Nations League match in Belgium on November 15.

England are also due to face Iceland in the Nations League on November 18 but doubts remain over whether the match will take place.

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Sky Sports News reported on Monday that England may have to forfeit the match, with UEFA expected to sanction Denmark’s fixture with the Icelanders on Sunday.

Currently, the UK Government will not allow any of Iceland’s players into the country to play the game if they have been in Denmark – where a new strain of coronavirus has been linked to the country’s mink farms.

England’s goalkeeping options assessed

England goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson takes an in-depth look at the techniques of Gareth Southgate’s shot-stoppers Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson.

In a fascinating insight ahead of England’s friendly with the Republic of Ireland and Nations League games with Belgium and Iceland, England goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson has analysed the techniques of all three ‘keepers in Southgate’s squad.

Margetson gives a detailed evaluation of the techniques of Pickford, Pope and Henderson as they battle to be No 1 for the European Championships.

Read our full feature here

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