Southampton boss lauds Newcastle United star as ‘categorically the best in the Premier League’
Nick Pope is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, according to Southampton boss Nathan Jones.
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Southampton boss Nathan Jones insists Nick Pope is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.
The £12million summer signing from Burnley once again came up trumps for Newcastle United as they drew first blood in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with the Saints.
Joelinton’s goal in the 73rd minute saw United take a 1-0 lead back to St James’ Park for the deciding leg next week - but that outcome would have been different without Pope.
The England international produced two massive second half saves to deny Che Adams, firstly in a one-on-one situation and the next with a diving stop from close-range.
Jones felt his side deserved more from the game but beating Pope is becoming something of an impossible task.
The former Luton Town boss said: “I think he’s the best goalkeeper in the league, not the best fashionable one when it comes to feet. It takes some doing to beat him.”
He added: “In terms of goalkeeping - catching it, keeping the ball out the net and making big saves… there isn’t a better goalkeeper in the Premier League.
“A lot of keepers now are judged on how brilliant they are with feet and how good they can play. Yeah, there are certain ones that are better than Nick Pope but in terms of being a goalkeeper, he is categorically the best in the Premier League.”
There won’t be many people on Tyneside who disagree with Jones’ view, especially not Bruno Guimaraes, who labelled Pope “the best goalkeeper in the world” after the narrow win on the South Coast.
Pope’s clean sheet at St Mary’s was his 10th in a row. The 30-year-old last conceded a goal in over 16+ hours of football when the Saints scored during the Premier League meeting in November.
“It’s a brilliant thing for Nick.” said Magpies head coach Eddie Howe. “I think he deserves that accolade but I’m sure he’ll be the first to give his credit to his teammates. And then probably in turn say ‘you made some great saves within that run’.
“He deserves it, he’s been excellent on and off the pitch since he signed for the club.
“When you see him every day and see the professionalism, he wants to train and wants to make saves.
“He has been hugely respectful with the team of goalkeepers that he works with and they push each other to greater performances.
“The team of goalkeepers around him, Martin (Dubravka), Karl (Darlow), Loris (Karius) - a really good team and I think they’ve all benefitted from each other’s presence.
“When you see that dedication to his craft, you know he deserves this moment.”