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Burnley pair set to impress in upcoming England friendlies

| 21.03.2018

England could have as many as four new players making their Three Lions debut in the upcoming friendly matches against Netherlands and Italy. 

Goalkeeper Nick Pope, defenders Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowski and midfielder Lewis Cook are all in line to make their bows in the coming week.

The quartet have all impressed in the Premier League this term. But how will they fare on the international stage?

We’ve given our verdict on the foursome…

Nick Pope

Since Tom Heaton was ruled out in early September, Pope has stepped into the Burnley breach with aplomb. He has an 80.2% save percentage in the top-flight this season.

That puts him behind only David de Gea and in front of all three of his England goalkeeping rivals.

It has been some rise for the 6ft 3in stopper, who not all that long ago was plying his trade in the Bostik League Division One North for Bury Town.

The 25-year-old has handled himself well both on and off the pitch so far. An assured performance in either friendly could put him in the frame for a World Cup berth. Watch out Joe Hart.

James Tarkowski

With England’s centre-half options at an all-time low, Clarets defender Tarkowski is in with a real shout of making it to Russia.

The ex-Brentford man has formed part of a Burnley defence which has conceded just 27 goals in the Premier League so far this season.

That’s the fourth-best record in the top-flight, behind only Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. But it’s the way that Tarkowski goes about his play that makes him an exciting prospect.

With Brentford, the 25-year-old learned to play out from the back and take chances with his play. At Turf Moor, the 6ft 3in ace has focused on the basics of defending that provide the cornerstone for manager Sean Dyche.

And the result? A first England call-up for the Manchester-born centre-back. With John Stones struggling for game time at Man City, Tarkowski could prove a vital asset in the upcoming friendlies.

Alfie Mawson

Swansea City star Mawson was thrown in at the deep end last season after joining the club from Barnsley. The 24-year-old struggled at times but ultimately showed his immense promise as the Swans stayed up by seven points from Hull City.

He’s clearly learned from that experience. And this season he’s grown to become one of the most important players for the South Wales club.

It’s unlikely that the former Wycombe Wanderers man will go to the World Cup in the summer. And he probably won’t get too many minutes against Netherlands and Italy either.

But Mawson does have experience of playing in a back three. That should only enhance the classy centre half’s claims if Gareth Southgate plays a similar system for the upcoming matches.

Lewis Cook

England’s midfield is packed full of talent. So Lewis Cook has the most difficult job of England’s four potential debutants.

The AFC Bournemouth midfielder will gain valuable experience from being around the Three Lions camp.

He’s sure to be in Southgate’s plans for the future, but will likely find opportunities limited in Amsterdam and at Wembley in the coming few days.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.