England call-up 'would mean everything' for Burnley keeper Pope

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Pope has filled in admirably for injured goalkeeper Tom Heaton at Burnley this season while central defenders Tarkowski and Mawson have also excelled.

England manager Gareth Southgate said on Thursday (March 15) his players are "desperate" to go to the World Cup in Russian Federation despite soaring political tensions between London and Moscow over the poisoning of an ex-spy.

He said: "Well, look, it's always a huge boost for us as a team when we've got our travelling support with us".

England travel to face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 23 before taking on Italy at Wembley on March 27.

With more established names at global level such as Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill all failing to make the side, Lascelles can feel hard done by.

There were also rumours Glenn Murray was going to make the squad and that suggestion was only made stronger after Harry Kane's injury.

Selection-wise, I've talked before about players needing to be playing for their clubs - and playing well - but it's a bit more of a complex scenario in reality.

Jack Wilshere is set to return to worldwide football for the first time in 18 months while Gary Cahill has been axed following his drop in form.

Uncapped Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook have been called up by England manager Gareth Southgate for the friendlies against Holland and Italy, the Football Association has announced.

On that note, James Tarkowski is a player I've watched since he was at Brentford.

England will kick off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on 18th June in the city of Volgograd, before further group stage clashes with first-time qualifiers Panama and European rivals Belgium in the days that follow.

"Jack is a player that has unquestionable talent", said Southgate.

The England boss said the Chelsea defender could win back favour before the World Cup, adding: "I think there are a few players not in this squad who are certainly not out of our mind".

Inevitably, Southgate's squad has divided opinion amongst England fans, and Alan Shearer is one high profile name that has tweeted his take on it.

"And in those other matches, the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy have all stepped forward and scored important goals - and Jermain Defoe".

"Joe has had a hard period with his club", said Southgate.