Newcastle United’s Nick Pope on Gareth Southgate’s England squad exclusion

Gareth Southgate, the manager of England, has recently urged the national team to rediscover their areas of expertise. This plea follows the exclusion of Nick Pope, the goalkeeper of Newcastle United, from the England squad. Despite being 31 years old, Pope has not been chosen to represent The Three Lions this season, and his last call-up was back in May. Unfortunately, he was unable to join the squad due to a hand surgery, and ever since, he has been continuously disregarded for international breaks in September, October, and November. In spite of not being part of the national team, Pope has been performing exceptionally well for Newcastle, as he has managed to keep five clean sheets this season. This achievement places him on equal footing with Sam Johnstone from Crystal Palace and Andre Onana from Manchester United, who also have the highest number of clean sheets in the Premier League. Furthermore, among English goalkeepers, Pope stands alone as the sole participant in the UEFA Champions League, with a game against Paris Saint-Germain set for Tuesday. However, Southgate has opted for Johnstone, Jordan Pickford from Everton, and Aaron Ramsdale from Arsenal instead of Pope. When questioned about being left out, Pope responded, “To be honest, I haven’t had any discussions with Southgate. He has multiple players to manage and various other responsibilities, so he can’t always prioritize individual players who are not selected for the team.” Pope perceives this as an inspiration to enhance his skills and regain his position in the England squad, expressing, “I aspire to be part of the England squad again, I desire to participate in a significant tournament. Currently, I am not included in the squad, but I take full responsibility for that. That’s my perspective on the matter.” Pope further negated any speculation of a disagreement with Southgate, stating, “I don’t believe so.. I had a long-delayed finger surgery, to be completely honest. Therefore, no, there hasn’t been any sort of dispute. I simply need to prove my indispensability to Gareth, so he won’t consider excluding me in the future. It’s entirely up to me.”

As Newcastle readies itself for the forthcoming Champions League game against PSG, Pope conveyed his aspiration for a victory, affirming, “That will only benefit our team in any group and at any phase.” Newcastle, currently positioned at the bottom of Group F with four points, is closely trailing PSG by only two points in the second spot. A triumph in the upcoming match would ensure that their aspirations of qualifying for the Champions League remain alive. Pope stressed the significance of approaching each game individually and maintaining a mindset focused on winning, irrespective of the opposition.

The clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United will be televised on TNT Sports 2 at 20:00 UK time. Enthusiasts have the option to subscribe to TNT Sports via various television platforms, such as discovery+, BT, EE, Sky, and Virgin Media.

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