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10 dark horses for England's 2018 World Cup squad 

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6.39K   //    31 Oct 2017, 22:36 IST

Nick Pope
Nick Pope

Three months of the Premier League season have now passed and, as we come close to the next international break, we introduce to you 10 players who could be included in the England party that goes to Russia next summer.

#10 Nick Pope (Burnley)

Only about a year ago, England were spoilt for choice with numerous goalkeeping options. Joe Hart was Manchester City's undisputed number one, Fraser Forster was only increasing his reputation at Southampton, Jack Butland was an exciting prospect and Tom Heaton was a dependable option as well.

Now, as we edge closer to 2018, Hart is still England's number one but a completely different player form-wise, and there have been growing calls for manager Gareth Southgate to replace him with Butland.

Forster is also having a difficult start to the season and, although Jordan Pickford has now emerged too, he has not yet hit the levels he did at Sunderland last campaign, and Heaton has a long-term injury.

The latter may be a blessing in disguise for the Three Lions though as Sean Dyche has been forced to deploy 25-year-old Nick Pope in goal instead.

Since making his Burnley debut against Crystal Palace at Turf Moor, Pope has kept four clean sheets in the seven league games he has featured in and also only conceded once, at Anfield, against a famously gung-ho Liverpool side.

The Palace clean sheet was the first Burnley managed this season.

It would not be surprising to see Southgate go with his tried and tested Hart, Butland and Forster trio, but if the boss goes on form, Pope is in with a real shot of being one of the three stoppers in the squad.

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