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Pope Needs More Time

Pope Needs More Time

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has stressed Nick Pope “still needs time” following the goalkeeper’s comeback appearance on Saturday.

The FA Cup third-round tie at Turf Moor saw Pope return to first-team action after being sidelined since dislocating his shoulder in July.

The 26-year-old was the Clarets’ first-choice goalkeeper last season, subsequently made his England debut in early June, and was part of the Three Lions’ squad at the World Cup in Russia.

Related: Hart Convinced Of Clarets’ Quality

After Pope sustained his injury, Burnley signed Joe Hart, who featured in their first 19 Premier League games this term before being demoted to the bench for the last two, with Tom Heaton playing instead.

Dyche, having named Hart on the bench again on Saturday as Heaton dropped out of the match-day squad, said of Pope’s performance: “I’m really pleased. He had a quiet day but an efficient day.

“He came for crosses like he does, looked nice and steady. “He told me he was absolutely clear, so that’s why I played him. He has only had one under-23s game, but he said ‘no, I’m absolutely clear.'”

When then asked how he would man-manage the situation of having Pope, Heaton and Hart all fit for next Saturday’s home league clash with Fulham, Dyche said: “Well, Popey still needs time. He has come in, but he still needs time.

“I believe in players being absolutely spot on. Sharpness and stuff, he needs that. We are pleased in a way obviously that it was a quiet afternoon for him, having good hands, good voice and taking up the right positions.

“That’s good stuff and important stuff, but he’s not had that much work to do. So we need that, and piecing it together, and giving him a bit of time.

“So I don’t class him as being right in there yet, but he is certainly on the way. And when it comes, that’s my job. I can only pick 11, and I can only pick one keeper.”

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