Good luck to England team over in Russia, and particularly Sells endorsee Nick Pope from all the Sells Pro Training team.
It’s one of those great stories that the game of football delivers from time to time.
A remarkable journey from getting released by Ipswich Town aged sixteen, to be making his England debut ten years later and getting on the plane to Russia.
Pope only made his Premier League debut September against Crystal Palace, coming on after 38 minutes, after a severe shoulder injury to Tom Heaton.
In the game Pope made a crucial save, in the last ten minutes, in a one on one with Palace striker Christian Benteke, keeping a clean sheet in a one-nil victory.
Pope took full advantage, establishing himself as Burnley’s number one with some fantastic performances.
He had the second highest shot saved percentage in the Premier League, with 79.4%, the only goalkeeper above him was David De Gea, with 81.2%.
It just goes to show the importance of never giving up and keep working hard and you never know how far you can go. Too often goalkeepers take rejection as final, but if you work hard and are determined to succeed you never know where you might end up.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Pope, in December in Halifax, and I’m sure that any thoughts of going to Russia were probably a long way off.
He spoke about how he had been released, how playing in for his college and non-league teams had kept him grounded.
For Burnley, he wears the number 29 as that was the number he used for college, not forgetting his football journey.
It’s great to see a great guy succeeding and a real inspiration to all the goalkeepers at Sells Pro Training. Keep working hard because you never know where it might take you…