Clean sheet for Nick Pope on first start for England in Kosovo

Nick Pope likes up with the England team before kick-off in Pristina
Nick Pope likes up with the England team before kick-off in Pristina

Clarets keeper Nick Pope made his first start for England as they won 4-0 against Kosovo in Pristina.

The Three Lions had already qualified for next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament, where they will play all three group games at Wembley in a Championships to be held in 12 cities in 12 countries.

But they rounded off their Group A qualifying schedule at the Pristina City Stadium, against the international newcomers, who they beat 5-3 in September at St Mary’s, with Pope claiming his second cap.

Pope had a quiet first half, making a comfortable stop from an Atdhe Nuhiu header, after the Sheffield Wednesday striker beat Tyrone Mings in the air.

He then showed clean hands to gather Milot Rashica’s effort from range, which skipped up off the pitch.

He also claimed a cross from the right with ease, as Kosovo struggled to find a way through, as they searched for an equaliser after Harry Winks’ first senior goal for his country.

A slip on the tricky pitch could have proved costly late in the second half, but Declan Rice covered well to ensure Pope wasn’t stretched.

And, after captain Harry Kane and substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount sealed victory, Pope came away with a clean sheet, having not been seriously tested.

Pope made his England bow in 2018 as a substitute for Jack Butland in a friendly with Costa Rica at Elland Road ahead of the World Cup in Russia, at which he was third-choice keeper.

He is the first Burnley goalkeeper to make a competitive appearance for England since Colin McDonald, who played at the 1958 World Cup. Tom Heaton’s three caps all came in friendly games.

Michael Keane was the last Burnley player to make a competitive appearance for the Three Lions, in a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley in March 2017.