Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope will never forget his west Suffolk roots, ahead of Liverpool clash
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Former Bury Town goalkeeper Nick Pope has described the emotions he went through making his Premier League bow last weekend, as he prepares for his full debut at Anfield tomorrow afternoon.
The ex-West Suffolk College pupil replaced the injured Tom Heaton and kept a clean sheet as Burnley defeated Crystal Palace, 1-0, at Turf Moor.
Pope joined the Clarets last summer from League One Charlton but, prior to Sunday, his only game time had come in the League Cup.
The 25-year-old could now be given an extended run of games in Sean Dyche’s side, with Heaton having undergone shoulder surgery this week, and should play at Liverpool today.
“As a substitute goalkeeper there are always nerves because your introduction usually comes out of the blue and is unexpected,” said Pope, whose former club Bury host Aveley in Bostik North this afternoon.
“The adrenaline definitely gets going and there were nerves as I was going to make my Premier League debut. It was amazing and even better that I kept a clean sheet and we won.”
Pope’s debut was on SKY TV, millions across the nation watching the former Ipswich Town youth goalkeeper replace England stopper Heaton.
“I didn’t really think about it being on TV, I had other stuff to concentrate on, but it was nice that it was televised as my parents got to see me play,” added Pope, who made a vital save from £30m-rated striker Christian Benteke, to preserve his side’s lead.
“It was nice to play my part in the victory and to get that save was nice. He (Benteke) managed to get through a tight gap between our defenders and I managed to stick a leg out.
“I am just going to take it a game at a time now and I’m not thinking too much about how many games I might play.”
Pope is now a fully-fledged member of the Premier League and who knows what he could achieve?
Not that he will ever forget his roots.
“Going to West Suffolk College, getting back into football with Bury Town, trying to kick-on.
“That was a massive part of my career and those three years at Bury were probably the most important in my development.”