Former milkman Nick Pope eyeing No. 1 spot as England goalkeeper

Former milkman Nick Pope eyeing No. 1 spot as England goalkeeper
From ESPN - March 20, 2018

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope believes he can complete the journey from being a milkman to becoming England's No. 1 after earning his first senior call-up for the friendlies against Netherlands and Italy.

Pope, 25, has been handed the chance to make a late surge into Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad after grasping his opportunity at Turf Moor following an injury to regular first-choice Tom Heaton last September.

Pope has kept 10 Premier League clean sheets in 28 appearances -- more shutouts than any other English keeper this season -- after making his top-flight debut this term.

And after his remarkable rise in recent months, he insists that his humble beginnings will not stop him targeting the role of England's No. 1.

"I did two years of business marketing and one year of sports science and had a couple of jobs alongside when I started my career," Pope said. "I worked on a milk round -- I was on an electric float at 4 a.m. -- and in [a clothing shop] as well. I did not get enough money! It did not pay much.

"So this is a massive achievement for myself and it's nice to share it with my family and friends.

"I never thought it would come. I went through the leagues and just thought all this got too far away almost. So I feel like I have put in some hard yards to get to this level.

"But now that I am here I would like to think my ambitions are greater than just being in a squad.

"You have to be hungry and this is the first time I have been called up to a squad, but I want to prove myself.

"To play for England is the end goal for me. Obviously throughout your career you set different goals. When I signed for Charlton they were in League One but my career ambition then was to play one game in League Two. As your career progresses you like to set yourself new targets to aspire to.

"But this Premier League season has told me to go and enjoy it and forget about all the noise around it.

"It is just 90 minutes on some grass. Go and show what you are about. That is something I have learnt since joining Burnley -- do not be scared of the challenge, embrace it and show what you are about."

Having played a key role in Burnley's surprise challenge for Europa League qualification this season, Pope insists he has earned his place in the England squad.

"It's not a fluke to get picked in the England squad, even though the last six months are not something I could have foreseen," he said.


Continue reading at ESPN »