NICK Pope has been thrown in at the deep end for Burnley this season but the nerveless stopper insists he has been determined to enjoy his moment in the spotlight.

The 25-year-old has looked calm and composed since replacing injured skipper Tom Heaton between the posts at the start of September, and he admits his watching family are usually more nervous than he is before and during games.

Pope hadn’t played a minute in the Premier League before coming in for Heaton and had just 33 Championship appearances under his belt.

But he’s grasped the opportunity handed to him at Turf Moor and revealed he had made a pledge with himself to enjoy his chance in the team, rather than battle nerves.

Of his recent appearance at Old Trafford, Pope said: “I was thinking walking out on the ground ‘if you can’t enjoy playing football here, where can you?’.

“When I got in the team and made my full debut it was at Anfield. You have just got to enjoy that.

“When you are kid growing up that’s where you want to play. If can’t enjoy it there, where can you?

“It’s something I obviously speak about with my family and friends. They are more nervous than me. When I hear what they are like in the stands it sound like it’s harder for them to enjoy than me. It’s been a good run so far.”

Pope came on for the injured Heaton during the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace before that first start at Anfield. Since then he has collected 10 clean sheets, with his performances seeing his name thrown into the mix for a place in the next England squad.

The former non-league goalkeeper has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent seasons and when his Premier League chance came around he was determined to enjoy it.

“I don’t know if it is an attribute, it’s just been something I have been determined to do in this run,” he said of his nerveless approach.

“When this opportunity came about it was to enjoy it, not to worry about everything around it, the other noise. Just concentrate game by game, give it what you have got and definitely enjoy yourself.”

Pope is one of a number of Clarets who have come into the side this season and impressed when the chance has arisen.

Kevin Long has done well when deputising at centre back, while Charlie Taylor is grasping his opportunity in Stephen Ward’s absence, and Phil Bardsley’s performance at right-back when Matt Lowton suffered an injury have seen him keep his place in the side.

“The big thing is training and the squad mentality. When we train every day it’s how we play and how we want to play,” Pope said.

“When lads come into the team the jobs are there and they know they have to do. The style of play, the shape and the distances are already there because of what we have worked on in training. That’s’ what we wan

“Training when there’s games, you would think it’s Saturday at 3pm with the tackles flying in and running hard. Everyone wants to win every game. Even if we play head tennis and darts! That’s a great attribute to have.”