Gareth Southgate call backfires as Nick Pope receives 'worst England rating' since 2009


Nick Pope will be keen to forget England’s 3-3 with Germany in a hurry after his late blooper denied his Three Lions team-mates a stunning comeback at Wembley Stadium over their arch-rivals in their final World Cup warm-up match. Gareth Southgate’s side were staring an underwhelming 2-0 defeat in the face in the second half when Kai Havertz struck a brilliant second goal from range after Ilkay Gundogan put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.

But England were inspired by the introductions of Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount, who dragged their side back into the game.

Southgate’s men pulled one goal back when Luke Shaw lashed the ball home before Mount whipped home a brilliant equaliser following a free-flowing team move.

Captain Harry Kane then put his side in front with a thunderous finish from the penalty spot that put England on course for victory.

However, Newcastle goalkeeper Pope struggled to keep hold of a long shot from range – spilling the ball into the path of Havertz, who gratefully tapped home.

READ MORE: Sean Dyche was £4m short of completing Harry Kane transfer deal with Tottenham

The Everton shot-stopper is expected to return in early October for the Toffees and there is no doubt he will be Southgate’s first-choice goalkeeper in Qatar – providing he is fit.

Pope also struggled with the ball at his feet on Monday night as England looked to progress the ball out from the back.

Newcastle’s summer signing was sometimes guilty of hoofing the ball up the field when England’s wing-backs and centre-halves were looking to play short.

Ramsdale has shown he is comfortable doing exactly that this season at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta – which is why there is some surprise he wasn’t given a chance during this international break.

Southgate was keen to support his player Pope after the match – despite his error costing England a vital win.

“It is an error and of course, he’s going to be down. But the team has to be together and we have done that all week,” Southgate said.

“Tonight, in the end, a couple of errors have cost us the goals. But I’ll focus on the fact they played with tremendous spirit and showed a belief that we haven’t shown in the last few games.

“I thought the crowd saw that and rose to that.”


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