Ashley Barnes has been rewarded for a spell of good form with a new three-year contract at Burnley, whilst colleagues James Tarkowski and Nick Pope have secured places in Gareth Southgate's latest England squad.
"I've still got a lot to come"
Three goals in three games have prompted some to suggest Barnes could be in contention for an international debut himself, but not necessarily England. The striker admitted, “I think I am playing some of my best football, but I’ve still got a lot to come.”
Barnes is the Clarets' record Premier League goalscorer with 18 goals and has been watched by an interested nation...Austria. The 28-year old's grandmother was born in the central European country and could earn selection for the World Cup after playing for Austria at Under-20 level.
The tenacious forward, who has been at Turf Moor since signing from Brighton in January 2014, suggested there is still more to come from his performances. He explained, "I’m still learning. I learn every day on the training ground. I knuckle down and try to do the right things and keep taking on information from the staff and it’s paying off."
Cork out, Tarkowski and Pope in
Jack Cork was overlooked for England's friendlies next week despite featuring for his country earlier in the season, losing out to the uncapped Lewis Cook of Bournemouth. Ben Mee has been tipped by some as a World Cup candidate with consistently solid performances placing him in the top five Premier League players for blocks and clearances this season but he also missed out.
However, James Tarkowski was rewarded for an impressive breakthrough season as he received a first international selection alongside Swansea's Alfie Mawson. The defender has the highest blocks per game ratio in the league and is third only to Shane Duffy and Ryan Shawcross in clearances per game.
The central defender is joined by goalkeeper Nick Pope who receives his maiden selection after impressively deputising for injured captain Tom Heaton. 89 saves and 10 clean sheets combined with the most aerial claims in the league ensured selection for Pope alongside Jack Butland, Joe Hart and Jordan Pickford.