Newcastle United have had a number of players away on international duty over the last week during the final break before the World Cup.
It has been an unfortunate week for that Magpies contingent, though, as Alexander Isak, Bruno Guimaraes, and Chris Wood have all picked up injuries, with the former Lyon man the only one of those three looking likely to feature against Fulham this weekend.
Nick Pope, meanwhile, endured a torrid time with England as he started both of their Nations League games in place of the injured Jordan Pickford.
He then had a shocker in his second match as he started against Germany in England’s 3-3 draw at Wembley on Monday night in their final group stage game.
The colossus had little chance with the opening goal as Ilkay Gundogan swept a penalty into the bottom corner, although the Magpies man appeared to dive after the ball had been struck – giving him little chance of getting across to it in a bizarre attempt at preventing the goal.
He then dived despairingly as Kai Havertz’s curled in a wonderful strike from distance to put Germany 2-0 up before England rallied and turned the game around to make it 3-2, thanks to goals from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount, and Harry Kane.
Pope, however, let the lead slip – quite literally – as he failed to keep hold of Serge Gnabry’s effort from outside of the box and Havertz pounced on the loose ball to make it 3-3. The former Burnley goalkeeper was unable to pat the ball down into his grasp and, instead, knocked it into the turf to spin out in the way of the Chelsea man.
Northern Echo journalist Scott Wilson Tweeted that the £59k-per-week Newcastle gem had a “howler” with the third goal and the statistics back that up. WhoScored gave him a rating of 4.27 for his display and that is the lowest score ever recorded by an England international since the website started receiving Opta data in 2009.
It was a historically poor performance from the Magpies shot-stopper and Eddie Howe will surely be hoping that it does not affect his confidence heading into the club’s upcoming Premier League matches.
Pope has averaged a WhoScored rating of 7.12 in the top-flight for the Toon this season and this suggests that he has been significantly better for his club than he has been for his country.