Nick Pope has not played a single minute for England at the World Cup so far, but the Newcastle United goalkeeper has still played an important role according to Marcus Rashford.
Pope is one of Gareth Southgate’s reserve goalkeepers, alongside Arsenal number one Aaron Ramsdale. The duo have been forced to watch on as Jordan Pickford takes the plaudits, starting all four of England’s games so far.
The Everton goalkeeper has impressed too, keeping three clean sheets. And he will need to be at his best on Saturday to keep France and Kylian Mbappe quiet.
Pickford has recently spoke about the importance of the goalkeeping group in the England camp, admitting that he works really well with Pope and Ramsdale.
Now Rashford has commented on England’s backup stoppers, and admitted that they have been ‘unbelievable’ behind the scenes.
Rashford on Pope
The Manchester United forward, who has scored three World Cup goals so far, has been speaking to the Lions’ Den on England’s official YouTube channel.
He spoke about England’s three goalkeepers, and heaped praise on Pope and Ramsdale despite them not playing.
“The keepers have been top-quality,” said Rashford.
“It’s only one of them that can play. The other two lads (Ramsdale and Pope) have been unbelievable.
“They have always given it 100% in training and they put their bodies on the line every single day. It has been fantastic to have them type of professionals around us.”
Important praise from Rashford
While Pope isn’t playing, he still has a role to play. And Rashford’s comments reinforce the fact that the squad is essential to a strong World Cup campaign.
It isn’t just about the players on the pitch for 90 minutes. The work done on the training ground is vital, and that includes the players who are not being selected by Southgate.
It probably hasn’t surprised Pope that he hasn’t played. While he has been fantastic for Newcastle, Pickford has been England’s number one for a long time now and has never let his country down.
Therefore, it was never likely that Pope would feature at the World Cup. He remains the only Toon player at the tournament who hasn’t played a single minute, and that is unlikely to change.
But his role behind the scenes is pivotal, and Rashford believes that the Newcastle goalkeeper and Ramsdale have both been unbelievable for their country.