The intriguing Gareth Southgate quotes that could explain Nick Pope's interest in joining Newcastle United

Gareth Southgate may hold the clue as to why Nick Pope looks likely to join Newcastle United this summer.

By Joe Buck
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 5:00 pm

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Newcastle are reportedly ‘close’ to agreeing a £10million deal for the goalkeeper who kept nine Premier League clean sheets for Burnley last season.

Burnley were ultimately relegated last year, following a final day of the season defeat to the Magpies at Turf Moor.

Pope, who was in goal for the Clarets that day, may feel that his only chance of representing England at the World Cup later this year is to be playing Premier League football - and that certainly looks like the case when you consider Southgate’s previous comments.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The England boss didn’t select West Brom’s Sam Johnstone during the March international break, instead opting to recall Pope to his squad.

For Southgate, the decision was all about one thing - Premier League football:

"We were very pleased with with Sam Johnstone did through the summer and his profile of being able to use the ball with his feet is important, but I think when you’re playing in the Championship, you’ve got to be playing at the very top with minimal errors to be able to keep out a goalkeeper who is playing well in the Premier League.” The England manager said in March.

"Nick was, I think, slightly under par, right at the beginning of the season, I think his performances from then on have been good and strong.

Nick Pope will be hoping to be in Gareth Southgate's England plans for the World Cup. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

"We know what he’s about, so he’s a very good goalkeeper, and I know Sean [Dyche] obviously has a view on all of that, but it’s great to have him back in the squad.”

Pope will be looking to add to his eight England caps next season, however, with the news that Johnstone has signed for Crystal Palace on a free transfer, competition for the starting spot in Qatar is hotting up.

A place as Newcastle’s no.1 next year could help Pope fulfil his England ambitions, however, to do that, he must dislodge Martin Dubravka who has become a very reliable and dependable figure under Eddie Howe.

Dubravka, 33, played 10 games less than Pope in the league last season, but kept just one less clean sheet in that time.