Pundit baffled by Aaron Ramsdale snub as Southgate responds to Pope error

While not at fault for either of the visitors’ first two goals at Wembley on Monday night, the Newcastle goalkeeper was guilty of dropping a tame shot at Kai Havertz’s feet for the late equaliser of the 3-3 draw.

Ahead of the game, former England striker Sutton described the decision to play Pope ahead of Ramsdale as “strange” given his view that the Arsenal player is “better with his feet”.

Pope was nearly caught out in possession a number of times and the pundit only grew more baffled by Gareth Southgate’s selection

He told Radio 5 Live: “I am a big fan of Nick Pope. It’s not his kicking, but for his actual handling. This is a howler.

“The ball just bounced in front of him and down to his left-hand side. It’s a standard catch for a goalkeeper and do hundreds of those every week in training. Shot from [Serge] Gnabry and Pope just spills it. Havertz was alert as ever and prods it in.”

England boss Southgate responded to Pope’s error after the game after the the 30-year-old had started both of this international period’s Nations League games in Jordan Pickford’s absence.

“It is an error, and of course he’s going to be down,” said Southgate. “But the team has to be together and we have done that all week.

“Tonight, in the end, a couple of errors have cost us the goals, but I’ll focus on the fact they played with tremendous spirit and showed a belief that we haven’t shown in the last few games. I thought the crowd saw that and rose to that.”

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