Nicholas David Pope (born 19 April 1992) is an English professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Burnley and the English national team.
Pope started his career in Ipswich Town's youth academy and after being released aged 16 joined Bury Town. He signed for League One club Charlton Athletic in May 2011, before having loan spells with Harrow Borough, Welling United, Cambridge United, Aldershot Town, York City and Bury. Pope joined Burnley of the Premier League in July 2016.
Born in Soham, Cambridgeshire, Pope attended King's School in nearby Ely. An Ipswich Town season ticket holder, he began his career at the club's academy and remained with Ipswich until being released aged 16. Following his release by Ipswich, he joined non-League club Bury Town in 2008. Having challenged and temporarily replaced Marcus Garnham, Pope proved he was capable at that level when he wore the number one shirt for Bury Town for a number of first-team matches after initially debuting for the team at just 16 years of age. Manager Richard Wilkins described Pope as "the most naturally-talented player to progress through the ranks at the West Suffolk Sports Academy and Bury Town" and said "I honestly think Nick Pope can go all the way to the top." Pope was also a member of the West Suffolk College squad and has represented an England Colleges squad.
On 24 May 2011, League One club Charlton Athletic signed Pope after he was spotted by scouts during a 2–1 win over Billericay Town. He was then invited to a trial at Charlton. After impressing staff during a trial, he was signed on a two-year contract after the two clubs agreed a compensation package, which included Charlton taking on the Suffolk outfit in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 2012–13 season. Charlton also paid for Pope to take a degree in sports science at the University of Roehampton alongside other courses which he had planned to take at the University of Nottingham before being signed by Charlton. On 7 February 2012, Pope signed a new two-year contract with Charlton. He made his Charlton and professional debut on 4 May 2013, in the last match of the 2012–13 season, as a 71st minute substitute for David Button in a 4–1 home win for Charlton against already relegated Bristol City in the Championship.
Pope signed a new three-year contract with Charlton in September 2013, and commented that "It's a big club so to have a long-term future secure, for me, as a player developing, it's something you look for".
On 5 June 2014, Pope signed a new four-year contract, securing his future to Charlton until June 2018.
Pope playing for York City in 2014
In August 2011, Pope joined Isthmian League Premier Division club Harrow Borough on a loan deal lasting until 17 September 2011. Whilst there Pope kept three clean sheets and saved two penalty kicks in 19 appearances. Pope was then meant to join Conference Premier club Kettering Town in December 2011, but the deal could not be concluded due to Kettering being placed under a transfer embargo. As a result, he joined Conference South club Welling United on 21 December 2011 on a 28-day loan instead. On 7 March 2013, Pope joined Cambridge United in the Conference Premier on a one-month loan. Whilst at the club, he made nine appearances, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
On 26 September 2013, Pope joined Conference Premier club Aldershot Town on a one-month loan. He joined League Two club York City on 21 November 2013 on a one-month loan, but was recalled after only two matches by Charlton. On 16 January 2014, Pope rejoined York on loan for the rest of the 2013–14 season, keeping 16 clean sheets in 24 appearances.
On 6 January 2015, Pope joined Bury on loan for the rest of the 2014–15 season. He made his debut in a 1–1 home draw with Wycombe Wanderers on 17 January 2015. He made 22 appearances as Bury won promotion after finishing in third place in League Two.
On 19 July 2016, Pope joined newly promoted Premier League club Burnley on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee. Pope made his Premier League debut on 10 September 2017, replacing the injured Tom Heaton in the first half of a 1–0 home win over Crystal Palace. He made his first Premier League start the following week, on 16 September 2017, in a 1–1 draw against Liverpool away from home. On 9 October, Pope signed a new contract to keep him at Burnley until June 2020. He suffered a dislocated shoulder on 26 July 2018 after colliding with Sam Cosgrove during Burnley's 1–1 draw away to Aberdeen in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg.
Pope was called up to the England national team for the first time on 15 March 2018. He was named in the 23-man England squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Pope made his debut on 7 June 2018 as a 65th-minute substitute as England beat Costa Rica 2–0 in a pre-tournament friendly.
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