Nick Pope is going to the World Cup with England, and Newcastle teammate Jamaal Lascelles thinks he should be starting.
Gareth Southgate has named his 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar, and Pope has got himself a place on the plane alongside Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson.
There is a strong Toon contingent in the England camp – the first time three Newcastle players have been in a Three Lions World Cup squad since 1998.
Times are changing on Tyneside, with top players from this country plying their trade at St James’ Park.
With three players in the squad, discussion will now turn to who should start when England’s tournament kicks off against Iran on November 21st.
Trippier will fancy his chances, although Wilson will know he is backup to captain Harry Kane. But Pope’s position is less clear, as he competes with Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale to be England number one.
Lascelles thinks Pope should start for England
Speaking to the Athletic after Newcastle beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Lascelles had his say on who should start in goal for England at the World Cup, and the significance of multiple Toon players heading to the tournament.
“It builds the profile of Newcastle when you have players like Trips, Bruno and Fab going to the World Cup,” he said.
“It just builds the profile of the club and the individuals as well. It’s special to have those players in the team, and we saw Nick Pope’s qualities — that’s why he should be starting for England.”
Unlikely Pope will oust Pickford
While most Newcastle fans will agree with Lascelles, it feels highly unlikely that Pope will start in Qatar.
The 30-year-old has been enjoying an excellent season at St James’ Park since his £10million move, but Pickford is one of Southgate’s golden boys. The former Sunderland stopper has always done well for his country, and those past performances should win him the number one spot.
However, he will be put under a lot of pressure from Pope. If anything, it should propel Pickford to perform even better for England.
Just being in the squad is an achievement for Pope, and it’s exciting to see Newcastle’s first choice stopper going to the World Cup. It’s what he deserves for his fantastic performances under Eddie Howe.