Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink blown away by Nick Pope's performance for Newcastle
Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink blown away by Nick Pope's performance for Newcastle

Newcastle United fans wouldn’t have believed 12 months ago that a match between Arsenal and Manchester United could impact them so heavily.

They’ll be eagerly watching this afternoon, hoping Erik ten Hag’s side don’t leapfrog them in the table once again.

Speaking on Sky Sports (21/1 7:42pm) after yesterday’s match, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was very impressed with Nick Pope.

The £10m goalkeeper has been outstanding this season for his new club.

He’s very much in with a shout of being the signing of the season in the Premier League after arriving from relegated Burnley.

Immediately handed the number one spot by Eddie Howe, he’s paid back that faith in him and more.

Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

No goalkeeper is even close to matching Pope’s 12 clean sheets this season, and he’s only conceded 11 goals.

Although Newcastle haven’t been the most prolific side in front of goal, their water-tight defence has certainly made up for it.

Hasselbaink was impressed with one moment in particular from Pope yesterday.

He was hardly called upon against Crystal Palace, but needed to be at his best to deny Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Hasselbaink impressed with Newcastle’s Pope

The retired Dutch forward was asked about the key save Pope made to deny the French forward.

“Absolutely magnificent. [Jean-Philippe] Mateta can’t do any more,” Hasselbaink said.

“This is just a reflex, and this is so hard because he’s had nothing to do the whole day.

“That tells you that he’s a top goalkeeper. If you look at the top goalkeepers, at the top clubs, they make big saves.

“That is a really big save. Here, he’s only got that reflex, and how strong that right hand is.

“Hats off, that’s a really, really good save. Goalkeeping is the mental side, you have to stay concentrated, and he did, well done.”

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Hasselbaink wasn’t the only pundit impressed with Pope yesterday, with Tim Sherwood calling him ‘top drawer’.

Pope has certainly benefitted from having a settled defence in front of him this season.

Kieran Trippier has been outstanding on the right, while Sven Botman has slotted into the side excellently.

With just over a week left in the January transfer window, it will be interesting to see if Howe moves for any attacking reinforcements.

He certainly doesn’t have to worry about improving his back four or goalkeeper right now.

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