Expert praises ‘phenomenal’ Newcastle man who played key role in draw with Man City

Nick Pope of Newcastle

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has praised current number one Nick Pope for his top performance in the 3-3 draw with Manchester City.

Pope may have conceded three goals at St James’ Park, but he did brilliantly to prevent the reigning Premier League champions from scoring more. The summer signing pulled off a top save to tip an Erling Haaland shot onto the post.

And when Kevin de Bruyne sent Haaland through on goal, Pope sprinted off his line to deny a second strike for the Norwegian.

Eddie Howe wanted a new shot-stopper to replace Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow, and help take Newcastle to the next level.

And Pope looks set to do just that, as long as he can put up more displays like he did against City.

Given made 463 appearances in goal for Newcastle between July 1997 and January 2009. When analysing Pope’s performance for Sky Sports, Given said: “We spoke about him before the game and how important he’s going to be this season. Eddie Howe brought him in, he recruited well.

“A lot of the saves are saves I’d expect Nick to make. He’s a tall goalkeeper, a big guy so sometimes it’s easier to save with his feet than your hands.

“This [the Haaland save] for me is the save of the match. Even Jimmy [Floyd Hasselbaink] next to me was like, ‘he didn’t save that’. He saved that [onto the post]. That’s a phenomenal, brilliant save.

Given lauds Nick Pope for save against Erling Haaland

“It gives him that confidence, that belief. And the one vs one, against one of the best strikers in world football. He’s so quick off his line, makes himself big and Haaland’s not got much to hit.

“We talk about the fans, they can be demanding here. But he’s started off brilliantly and got them on his side. I think Eddie’s really happy with him.”

Pope was a stalwart for Burnley during six years at Turf Moor and pulled off plenty of great saves to help keep them in the top flight. He will aiming to take his game up a notch as Newcastle pursue top 10 – and then potentially top six – finishes.

Eddie Howe sung the praises of Pope during his post-match interview, in which he also explained how he wanted his players to make City ‘uncomfortable’.