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Pope impressed by England’s penalty preparations

By June 16, 2018No Comments

Nick Pope has given his seal of approval to England’s penalty takers after getting a front-row seat in training.

Manager Gareth Southgate knows better than most about the pressure of shootouts due to his famous miss at Euro 96 and has ensured his squad have had plenty of practice from 12 yards.

Pope has joined Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford in trying to keep the ball out of the net but has been impressed by the quality of the strikes.

Pope impressed by England’s penalty preparations PLZ Soccer
Nick Pope claims not to have saved many of his team-mates’ penalties (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“It’s looking good…I’ve faced them and I’ve not got near too many,” the Burnley man told BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT.

“We’ve all had a strike, all 23. The standard has been really high to be honest.

“It’s an enjoyable thing to do at the end of training, there’s always a winning team and a losing team lined up on the halfway line. There’s always something on it.

“Penalties are a skill, you’ve got to practise, it’s just like you practise your passing and your other drills. That’s how we see it.”

Pope, who edged the experienced Joe Hart for a place in Southgate’s squad and won his first cap as a substitute against Costa Rica earlier this month, is likely to start the tournament as third choice.

Jordan Pickford looks certain to pip Jack Butland having been handed the number one shirt.

“Jordan had a great season at Everton, obviously they started sticky but he was one that really shone throughout that period and carried on when the team’s results picked up,” said Pope of the 24-year-old.

“That’s a great measure of his character.”