'Wait, this is real?' - England fans baffled by Gareth Southgate's pick to replace Nick Pope after Newcastle star's injury
Gareth Southgate is set to make a shock call-up for the England squad after Newcastle shot-stopper Nick Pope recovers from an injury, according to reports.
The England manager announced his 25-man England squad on Thursday ahead of the Three Lions’ Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine this month.
Pope was called up for the England squad alongside Everton star Jordan Pickford and Arsenal No 1 Aaron Ramsdale, but he has since been forced to withdraw.
The Newcastle star has impressed for Eddie Howe’s men and is tied with England teammate Ramsdale for most clean sheets in the Premier League this season at 12.
It is believed that Pope has a minor injury and is set to receive treatment during the international break, despite playing the full 90 minutes for Newcastle in their 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Friday.
According to The Athletic, Tottenham ‘keeper Fraser Forster will be called up to the England squad by Southgate in place of the injured Pope, who received some treatment ahead of Newcastle’s win.
Tottenham have been without Hugo Lloris after he suffered a knee injury in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Manchester City in February, with the ex-France international potentially out for up to six to eight weeks.
Forster, who arrived at Spurs last summer on a free transfer, has been able to secure regular playing time under Tottenham manager Antonio Conte after Lloris’ injury.
The 35-year-old former Southampton and Celtic star’s call-up to the England squad has ruffled the feathers of some fans on social media.
“Wait, this is real? No way,” one fan wrote.
Here we go... your #ThreeLions for March camp! 🦁— England (@England) March 16, 2023
Someone else tweeted: “Fraser Forster? Call up one of the U21 keepers, for f**k’s sake!”
Another Twitter user posted: “It’s 2023 and Forster is in the England squad.”
While one fan asked: “Is Forster really the next best option?”
“Sums up the state of this national team. Bring in a good up-and-coming GK, not 35-year-old Fraser Forster,” a fifth commented.
However, not everyone was disappointed with Forster’s call-up and Spurs fans were quick to praise him after his recent run in first-team matches.
A fan said: “Really pleased for Forster, he’s been solid for us since stepping up.”
And another commented: “Deserves it even at his age.”
One Twitter user wrote: “Yes, Fraser, happy for you, mate.”
“Well deserved, TBH, Forster has been very good as of late for us,” another fan tweeted.
While a fifth added: “Wishing you the best, Fraser!”