Burnley goalkeeper, Nick Pope, hopes to be in goal for England against Nigeria and Costa Rica in their double header friendlies as he looks to challenge for the Three Lions’ number one spot ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The three Lions will entertain the Super Eagles at Wembley Stadium London on Saturday before facing Costa Rica on Thursday.
Pope, 26, who edged out Joe Hart for the third goalkeeping spot in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad, says that the shirt for the first game of the World Cup – against Tunisia on June 18 – is what everybody is aiming at, and that the friendlies are going to be key to that.
“The friendlies are what you’re looking at really now,” Pope told Lancashire Telegraph.
“The first game is when everyone wants to have the shirt but the two games coming up (Nigeria and Costa Rica) will decide who plays that first game.
“They’re what you keep your focus on really. Get to the first of these next two games and see how it goes and prepare myself as best as I can in the next two weeks in training to give myself the best chance of getting on the pitch.”
Pope was impressive in goal for Burnley in the Premier League last season as they finished seventh and bagged an Europa League slot.
The friendly between England and Nigeria will be the third time both countries will clash in both competitive and international friendly level.
Their first meeting was in 1994 in a friendly at Wembley with England pipping Nigeria 1-0 thanks to a David Platt first half goal.
At the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, the two countries played a 0-0 draw in their last group game. Argentina and Sweden were also in the group.