Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was stunned by Nick Pope’s performance against Brighton on Saturday.
The goalkeeper put on an incredible display down on the south coast, with his effort earning Newcastle an undeserved point.
Pope got an easy clean sheet against Nottingham Forest, but was forced to fight for that honour versus Brighton. But he was equal to everything the Seagulls threw at him.
Graham Potter’s side peppered Pope with shots, and found a way past him on two occasions. But in both instances he was backed up by Kieran Trippier and Fabian Schar, who provided vital goal-line clearances.
Eddie Howe on Nick Pope
After the game, Howe spoke to NUFC TV and was asked about Pope’s role in picking up an important point.
“I think the one that sticks in my head was Lallana’s header,” he said.
“What a save. I thought it was in. He’s capable of that and we’re going to need him this year.
“I think he’s gelled really well with the guys in the backline and early signs are good for him.”
Pope already proving to be a bargain
It was an outstanding performance from Pope. The save referenced by Howe to deny Lallana was brilliant, whose downward header looked destined to find the net. But the 30-year-old’s long arm diverted it wide and away from goal.
He also produced a vital save to stop Solly March from scoring – the Brighton winger found space in the box only to be denied by Newcastle’s new first choice stopper.
There were a few questions when Howe moved for a goalkeeper this summer. Martin Dubravka has never really put a foot wrong, while there were more pressing areas that needed improving.
Alas, Pope arrived from Burnley for £10million. Two games in and he’s yet to concede a goal. His outing against Brighton proved why Howe wanted him – he will have many more afternoons like that in a Newcastle shirt.
Hopefully he plays to the same standard next week when we welcome Premier League champions Manchester City to St James’ Park. Pope will have to be at his best again to stop Erling Haaland and co.