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FORMER York City goalkeeper Nick Pope has credited his past loan spells as "massive" after securing a move to Newcastle United.
Pope signed a four-year deal with the Premier League giants for a reported £10m fee on Thursday, ending a six-season stay with Burnley, who were relegated from the top-flight last month.
The 30-year-old's switch furthers a remarkable career progression, which began in the professional game at Isthmian League's Bury Town following his release from Ipswich Town.
After earning a move to Charlton Athletic in 2011, Pope had six subsequent loan spells, including a 24-match stint at York during the 2013/14 campaign as City reached the League Two play-offs.
“I got released from the (Ipswich) academy system when I was 16 and I came back in at 19 after a few year’s at college," the keeper explained to NUFC TV.
“From Charlton, I had six or seven loan spells: York City, Bury and (at teams) a lot lower down than that as well, (like) Welling.
“It’s a journey that I’m incredibly proud of really, to have that as my routes and my core of my football career being in the grassroots of football and in the non-league.
“I’m really proud to have got to this point with those experiences behind me. They’ve stood me in really good stead to come into the Premier League and being able to enjoy the stage that this is.”
While Pope's spell with York was in the Football League, four of his other half-a-dozen stints away from Charlton were in the non-league.
He added: “It’s something that levels you and when you get through the leagues and things improve, you’ve got that really appreciation of having played at level with those experiences behind you.
“Something that was massive for my career was playing in those games and using the loan system to improve myself as a player.
“I was going into new dressing rooms with new staff quite regularly and played in teams that played different styles of football. It’s something that was a great education for me.”