Newcastle United summer signing Nick Pope is proving to be a solid bit of business, the goalkeeper has put in some impressive displays for the Magpies this season.
Bought for a reported transfer fee worth £10 million from Burnley, the 31-year-old appears to be another example of Newcastle’s smart recruitment policy under the new ownership.
Signed on the back of his exploits at Turf Moor, Pope has brought the necessary amount of Premier League experience and on-field authority to guide Newcastle through their transition into an elite Football club.
The 31-year-old has kept 13 clean sheets this season while conceding just 23 goals in 30 games.
Pope recently joined fellow keeper Ben Foster on an episode of his podcast, aptly named ‘Fozcast’, for a candid chat about topics related to Football and beyond, offering fans a chance to learn about him.
While the matters covered in the episodes were many, here are a few of the highlights.
Alexander Isak had Nick Pope ‘frightened’ for his health
While Newcastle have largely shied away from splurging their newfound riches, the Magpies simply couldn’t pass up on Alexander Isak, who was brought in for £63m last summer.
A highly-rated talent, Isak scored a divisive goal on his debut itself, letting the Toon know what he is all about. The Swedish striker is back to scoring ways having recovered from a recent injury, with all signs pointing towards him being a star in the making.
Pope confessed to being wowed by the striker’s very first training session, with his sheer shot power impressing in particular.
The keeper said, “His first training session. You always want to see what a new lad is like, you know how it is. We’ve done this shooting session and he’s nearly took my face off a few times. No back-lift, like rolling through on the angle, and he’s just absolutely slapped it.”
“Power. I was like I don’t think that’s a fluke. We did 15 minutes of shooting and I was protecting my body, frightened for my health, remember walking off and thinking I don’t want to do too many of those sessions with him.”
Pope heaps praise on Brazilian midfielder
The story of Joelinton’s turnaround under Eddie Howe is nothing short of sensational.
Prior to Howe’s arrival, the Brazilian was a club-record signing teetering on the edge of being deemed a failure.
However, fortunes flipped almost immediately after the managerial change. Joelinton was shifted into midfield, a position where the 26-year-old has quite simply blossomed.
Nowadays, the Brazilian can comfortably claim to be one of the best in the league, a claim also relayed by his fellow teammate.
On the podcast, Pope said, “It’s through the roof (his work rate). Obviously, a player like you wanted to play with when he got here because he has so much strength, so much power, ability on the ball, he’s got a bit of everything. Proper, like midfield general, gives everything for the team.”
“When you talk about having people in the trenches with you, Joelinton is top of the list. If you’re injured he’d carry you on his back. No questions asked. He’s the sort of player who every team would want in their midfield.”
Pope’s brutally honest response about his teammates’ intelligence
Footballers aren’t normally known for being brain wizards, and as per Pope, there are absolutely no geniuses in the Newcastle locker room.
Well, aside from Dan Burn…maybe.
The revelation came after the keeper was asked about his choice of his teammates from the Newcastle locker room for a game of quiz.
He responded by saying, “Current squad? Not many.”
“This is not going to be a long list. There must have been a few dropped out of school early- Jesus Christ. There’s not many outside careers in there.”
A ruthless assessment to say the least, although there was one exception, and for a hilarious reason too.
“One pops in my head, Dan Burn… because he owns a kindle. I see him on the bus and he’s got his kindle. He must be because I’m looking at everyone else who’s just scrolling through TikTok for three and a half hours.”
After a bit of deliberation, Pope rounded out the quiz team by letting in Isak and Sven Botman, but we get the sense that this outfit isn’t as fearsome in the quiz booth as it is on the pitch.
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