Tottenham Hotspur keeper Fraser Forster has been called up to replace Nick Pope in the latest England squad after the Newcastle United stopper was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Despite playing 90 minutes in the Magpies’ 2-1 victory against Nottingham Forest, it has been reported that Pope has been nursing an injury over the last week that has caused him to miss training sessions.
Pope’s injury is not believed to be serious, but he will not risk any involvement in England’s upcoming EURO 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, and will receive treatment over the international break.
This means that Pope will not have the chance to make amends for his blunder in his most recent England appearance against Germany in September.
The Newcastle squad have flown to Dubai for a warm weather training camp, and it is not yet known whether Pope will join up with the squad.
Pope should be available for Newcastle’s crucial clash against Manchester United in early April, where he will be hoping to avenge last month’s Carabao Cup final defeat that he missed through suspension.
Replacing Pope is Newcastle academy graduate Forster, who has appeared seven times in the Premier League this season while deputising for the injured Hugo Lloris.
Forster was born in Hexham and joined Newcastle’s academy in 2005, but never made a competitive appearance for the Magpies. He spent two seasons on loan at Celtic before signing permanently in 2012, where he went on to make over 200 appearances in total.
Forster made his Three Lions debut against Chile in 2013, but hasn’t been capped by England since 2016. He isn’t expected to feature ahead of Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale in England’s upcoming fixtures, but if he does receive his seventh cap, he will rank 13th for the longest interval between England appearances.
Despite being a clear understudy for Lloris since signing for Spurs last summer, assistant manager Cristian Stellini has been full of praise for the 35-year-old. He said: “I like Fraser like a man, because he is a very good man. His behaviour this season was perfect. Every day, he pushes himself to train really hard and, with this behaviour, he pushes Hugo to train very hard.”
Forster has managed two clean sheets and a penalty save in his seven league appearances for Spurs, and he will be pleased that his recent form has been rewarded with an England call up at a time when many would have expected his international career to be over.