FORMER Burnley goalkeeper Paul Robinson admits he could see Nick Pope’s continued improvement during their time together at Turf Moor, but did not expect the Clarets stopper to make the leap to the England squad so soon.

Pope had never played a minute of Premier League football prior to being thrust into the Burnley team at Crystal Palace in September after captain Tom Heaton dislocated a shoulder.

Pope grabbed his chance with both hands and didn’t look back, keeping 11 clean sheets and winning a host of awards at the Clarets end of season presentation evening.

Robinson, 38, retired from playing last summer after a stint with Burnley.

While at Turf Moor he deputised for Tom Heaton and kept Nick Pope out of the matchday squad.

Now the latter is travelling with Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland to Russia and kept Heaton out of Sean Dyche’s side when the 32-year-old returned for the final few weeks of last season.

Heaton is also in Gareth Southgate’s training squad having been placed on the standby list for the World Cup and of his time working alongside the two, Robinson, who made three appearances for Burnley in an 18-month stay at Turf Moor, said: “I was the mentor, the old man. I was Tom’s number two and Popey was number three.

“He (Pope) was one of those who matured later but he’s served his apprenticeship, played the games, done the rounds, and you could see in training that he was coming on.

“I don’t think anybody could anticipate him reaching that level so quickly, but he was definitely a first-team goalkeeper in the making.”

Pope will hope to make his international bow in England’s final World Cup warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday.

The former Charlton man been an unused sub in each of the Three Lions’ last three matches.