FOR anyone who follows the Premier League in all its intricacies, the emergence of Burnley’s Nick Pope will certainly not have escaped the attention.

His progress will be even more eagerly tracked by York City fans – over two loan spells with the club, the 25-year-old kept 16 clean sheets in 24 games and helped City into the League Two play-offs.

Pope made two appearances in November 2013 before being recalled by parent club Charlton Athletic. He returned on January 16 to see out the rest of the season.

The then 21-year-old’s first test was a home match against Bristol Rovers, the team that had knocked the Minstermen out of the FA Cup in the first round proper after a replay, and scored six goals in the process.

Pope’s first performance, although a little nervous, resulted in a goalless draw. Not bad.

His next two games were both 2-0 losses, before an immense run of 17 unbeaten games lifted City from 13th position to seventh, comprising 11 wins, 13 clean sheets and only five goals conceded.

The young shot-stopper, between early March and the start of April, went seven games without letting a goal in – a feat that did not go unnoticed by then manager Nigel Worthington, who admitted that he would have loved to sign Pope on a permanent basis.

City were denied promotion to League One by a single goal over two legs against Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-final, but the keeper is still thought of highly at Bootham Crescent.

A month on, Pope revealed that he would be “delighted” to return to City, should the Addicks have had no further plans for him – unfortunately, they did, and in January 2015, Pope was loaned to Bury, helping secure their passage to League One.

In July 2016, Pope joined newly-promoted Premier League side Burnley. He spent his first season as the Clarets’ ‘cup keeper’, the third choice behind the well-regarded Tom Heaton and veteran Paul Robinson.

Having graduated to second-choice keeper in the closing stages of the 2016/17 campaign, Heaton’s dislocated shoulder in September’s game against Crystal Palace at Turf Moor gave Pope his chance at Premier League football.

Following that 1-0 win, he has featured in every subsequent Burnley fixture, conceding seven goals in nine games – although admittedly, three of those were shipped at Manchester City, and given their attacking potency, it would be churlish to criticise the young keeper too much for that one.

In fact, his fondness for a clean sheet is probably the reason Burnley have earned so many wins this season, given that all four wins that he has played in have been decided by a one-goal margin.

Word has it that Pope is even in with an outside chance of an England call-up.

At the York City press conference, Martin Gray hailed the arrival of keeper Adam Bartlett as “like signing a top centre-forward”, and that is exactly what we are seeing here – for a side without huge firepower up front, clean sheets earn points and win games.

Performing at the highest level of English football, just as he did in League Two those four seasons ago, Nick Pope is clearly a promising player on the rise, and edging his team up the table.