Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is being considered for a senior England call-up ahead of next month’s friendlies against Netherlands and Italy, sources have told ESPN FC.
Pope, 25, only made his Premier League debut in September when a shoulder injury to Tom Heaton forced manager Sean Dyche to thrust the former Charlton player into his first team.
Since replacing Heaton, Pope has kept nine clean sheets in 25 league games — the most by any English keeper in the Premier League — prompting England manager Gareth Southgate to watch him in the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday.
With Southgate having just two games to assess potential new faces before he names his World Cup squad at the end of May, Pope has emerged as a candidate for one of the three goalkeeping spots in Russia.
Barring injury between now and the start of the World Cup, Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Stoke City No. 1 Jack Butland are expected to battle it out to start the Group G opener against Tunisia on June 18.
But Southgate is facing an increasing headache over his third goalkeeper, with Joe Hart out of favour at West Ham after being dropped by manager David Moyes in December.
Hart has not appeared in the Premier League since the 4-0 defeat at Everton on Nov. 29, with Moyes only using the on-loan Manchester City keeper for FA Cup ties since the turn of the year.
With West Ham knocked out at Wigan last month, Hart has not played since and his prospects of making Southgate’s squad are diminishing.
Fraser Forster, capped six times, has also lost his first-team place at Southampton.
England under-21 keeper Angus Gunn, on loan at Norwich from Manchester City, was drafted into the senior squad as cover for November’s Wembley friendly against Brazil and is also being considered by Southgate.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_