Micah Richards says Nick Pope’s performance for Newcastle United in their goalless draw with AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday night was “impeccable”.
The 31-year-old kept in check an eager and dangerous AC Milan side at the San Siro, whose home side were desperate to put behind them the weekend’s 5-1 defeat to Inter.
It was actually a positive start for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle, but once the Italian giants got their engines going, things started to become one-sided.
AC Milan hammered and hammered at Newcastle’s goal but Nick Pope stood firm between the posts and Richards called him “outstanding” as he said CBS Sports on Paramount+ (9/19/23 at 10:10 p.m.).
In the end, the England international, who was left out of Gareth Southgate’s current squad, saved nine shots, including several close-range shots from the likes of Olivier Giroud in the first half.
For their first Champions League game in two decades, away, at the San Siro and against last season’s Champions League semi-finalists, then that’s a very good start from Newcastle.
Man of the match, Nick Pope
“But Pope’s saves,” Richards said. “AC Milan had 25 shots and Pope decisively saved 8.
“We talked a lot about him in England and how good he was at blocking shots and he proved his worth.
“He is just great, he has this presence, he dominates his area and he played an outstanding game. He had to. Away in Milan. He knew it would be hard.
“We know he’s not the best with the ball. But he makes the right decisions at the right times and I thought he was impeccable.”
Nick Pope has to return to England
Debate all you want about who should be England’s number one. But one thing is certain: Pope needs to be at St George’s Park for the next international games.
There should be no reason why Gareth Southgate doesn’t see Pope as one of England’s top three goalkeepers.
The under-fire England manager makes some ridiculous decisions but this one is definitely up there.
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