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I never thought I’d see the day again, an England squad named for a World Cup with a Burnley player among them. Not only that, we’ve also got two more in the standby list.

pope at west hamIt has to start with goalkeeper Nick Pope who has had a whirlwind of a year. Signed from Charlton in the summer of 2016 he wasn’t even second choice goalkeeper for much of his first season at Turf Moor but stepped up into that role when Paul Robinson picked up an injury.

But it was back in September in just our second home game of the 2017/18 season when things changed for him. Tom Heaton, captain and England goalkeeper, went down with a serious shoulder injury and Pope came on as a substitute for his Premier League debut. I think it is fair to say he’s never looked back.

We knew he was going to be in the team for some considerable time but it’s gone beyond that. His form meant he has retained his place even since Heaton was available again. He won an England call up recently and now, today, has been named as one of the three goalkeepers in the England squad for the World Cup Finals in Russia. I don’t think anyone can even begin to question his inclusion so well has he played for us this season.

He becomes the second Burnley player to win a place in the finals in Russia; last week Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson was confirmed in the Iceland squad, but we have to go back a long, long time to find another Burnley player in an England World Cup Finals squad. In 1962, Walter Winterbottom named John Connelly in his squad for the finals in Chile and also included Jimmy Adamson who was given the squad number of 22 but, in reality, travelled as assistant manager. The last Burnley player to play in a World Cup Finals game for England was Colin McDonald; he was in goal four years earlier in Sweden.

Heaton’s injury has cost him his place, no doubt about that, but he’s been named as one of the five standby players in Gareth Southgate’s squad as has James Tarkowski who has probably missed out because of our former loan player Gary Cahill’s inclusion.

Up the Clarets would like to congratulate Nick, in particular, along with Tom and James, and it’s also good to see our former player Kieran Trippier make the squad.

The Full Squad

Goalkeepers
Jack Butland (Stoke)
Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
Fabian Delph (Manchester City)
Phil Jones (Manchester United)
Harry Maguire (Leicester)
Danny Rose (Tottenham)
John Stones (Manchester City)
Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)
Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Midfielders
Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Eric Dier (Tottenham)
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Jesse Lingard (Manchester United)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)

Forwards
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)

Standby
Tom Heaton (Burnley)
James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Lewis Cook (Bournemouth)
Jake Livermore (West Brom)
Adam Lallana (Liverpool)

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