Belfast Telegraph

England’s World Cup Diary – Day Five

All the low-down from Russia.

Nick Pope would not blame the design of the official World Cup football should he make a mistake in Russia.

Burnley goalkeeper Pope, who made his international debut as a substitute in the recent warm up against Costa Rica, is competing with Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland to be Gareth Southgate’s number one.

The trio have been training with the Adidas Telstar 18 ball ahead of England’s Group G opener against Tunisia on Monday.

Nick Pope (pictured) Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland and competing for the England number one spot (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Despite criticism of the ball from Germany’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Spain stoppers David de Gea and Pepe Reina, Pope insists he is ready to face it.

“In South Africa (2010) they were the roundest ever…I remember that one,” said the 26-year-old.

“Obviously it’s a different make to the Premier League (ball) – different feel, differently made.

“It’s slightly different but we’ve been training with them for a good two or three weeks now and in March as well.

“We’re well used to them. I never look for an excuse.”

Picture of the day

England midfielder Dele Alli plays darts in Repino (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Quote of the day

I do know the team, but he says I’m not allowed to tell you. We were working on specific things and the lads are ready to go. Fabian Delph on Gareth Southgate's team for Tunisia

Video of the day

Daily social

What’s on tomorrow?

England train at 08:00 (BST) before holding a press conference in Volgograd (16:45 BST) ahead of Monday’s opener against Tunisia.

Three Lions throwback

Gary Lineker was unable to break the deadlock during England’s goalless draw with Holland on this day in 1990 (Ross Kinnaird/Empics)

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