Chris Sutton critical of Nick Pope's kicking during England clash
Chris Sutton has told BBC Sport that Nick Pope‘s kicking does not instil you with great confidence after the Newcastle United goalkeeper made a couple of small errors with the ball at his feet during the early stages of England’s clash with Germany.
Pope was given the nod to start at Wembley as he looks to put some pressure on Jordan Pickford ahead of the World Cup.
Of course, there is absolutely no debate regarding how good Pope is as a shot-stopper. But the accusation which is often made about the Magpies goalkeeper is that he is not as good when it comes to his distribution.
So his start against Germany in the Nations League appeared to be a really good opportunity for the 30-year-old to stake a claim.
Unfortunately, Pope did get off to a shaky start. He produced a couple of iffy touches and gave possession away cheaply. In fact, his first attempt to find Luke Shaw on the left flank was put straight out for a throw-in.
And Sutton suggested that he was not impressed by what he saw from Pope.
“Nick Pope took a heavy first touch and he was unaware of Havertz, who put him under pressure. And a shot from Gundogan went over the bar, but it doesn’t instil you with great confidence [Nick Pope] with the ball on his feet,” he told BBC Sport.
Nick Pope’s kicking leaves plenty to be desired
Obviously, one performance tonight was always unlikely to sway Gareth Southgate when it comes to deciding who his number one would be for Qatar.
Jordan Pickford has been outstanding for much of his time as England number one. And Southgate has shown that he is prepared to be loyal to those he feels have stepped up during his tenure.
Pope is one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers. And he will likely continue to impress for Newcastle leading up to the tournament.
But he probably needed an absolutely flawless display to spark some sort of debate ahead of the winter. And those shaky moments did him few favours.
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