England legend David Seaman has backed Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope to secure a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup Finals squad, despite his error in Monday night’s draw with Germany.
Pope was handed his ninth cap as the Three Lions brought down the curtain on their Nations League campaign with a 3-3 draw with the Germans at Wembley.
England looked on their way to a morale-boosting win as goals from Mason Mount, Luke Shaw and Harry Kane helped them recover from two goals down to take a lead into the final five minutes of the game.
But the visitors claimed a late point when Pope spilled a shot from Serge Gnabry to allow Chelsea star Kai Havertz to tap home an equaliser from close range.
Former Arsenal keeper Seaman identified one key area of improvement for the Magpies keeper and believes Pope will have to ‘hold his hands up’ and take responsibility for the error.
He told Sky Sports: “He will be disappointed with the Germany third goal, no doubt.
“I don’t know whether he got caught in two minds about trying to go horizontal or to try and stay vertical and use a spook technique.
“It was a hard ball to deal with, but as a goalkeeper, you have to hold your hands up and it’s one that he’s fumbled.
“Sometimes you get away with them, sometimes you don’t. He’ll be disappointed and he’ll be a little bit disappointed with his distribution.
“It’s something other teams are looking at and they are charging him down all of the time.
“This happened before, and I am sure he is working hard on it, but it was a chance for Nick and sadly he makes the mistake that costs England a win.”
Despite the error, Seaman insisted Pope will take his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the tournament in Qatar.
Everton stopper Jordan Pickford seems to have secured his place as England’s number one, and that leaves Pope to battle it out with Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale and Nottingham Forest star Dean Henderson for the other two goalkeeping spots.
Seaman believes it will be Henderson’s lack of experience that will work against him when Southgate makes his final selection in late-October.
He said: “When you look at the goalkeepers that are available, Jordan is really good with his feet, Aaron is really good with his feet, Dean is good.
“It’s not Nick’s strong point, Nick’s strong point is in different areas. He commands his penalty area really well, he’s probably the best out of all of them at taking crosses.
“But with Aaron, you get an all-round game, but it’s not about that, it’s about who is number one and Jordan, fingers crossed and everything cross, that he comes back from his injury and will be ok for the World Cup.
“It’s really close, but for me, Jordan Pickford is number one.
“It’s a tough one but looking at it and looking at the experience, I think Dean might miss out because he hasn’t made a lot of appearances for England.
“It’s his first season with Nottingham Forest and I would imagine he will be the one that misses out.”