TOM POPE lived up to his promise – as he scored in Port Vale’s FA Cup third-round clash with Manchester City.
The veteran forward, 34, once tweeted he’d score 40 goals a season if he went up against John Stones every week.
And Pope held up his end of the bargain by nodding home his side’s equaliser at the Etihad after beating Taylor Harwood-Bellis to the ball and angling a header past Claudio Bravo.
While Stones was not at fault for the goal, Pope will surely breathe a sigh of relief for having an impact on the game after such big talk just seven months earlier.
After England slipped to a 3-1 defeat against Holland in June’s Nations League semi-final, Pope tweeted: Just watched the highlights of the England game!
“I know Im a League Two player, I know he plays for England.
“I know hes on 150k a week, I know hes a million times better player than me but Id love to play against John Stones every week! Id get 40 a season!
He then used the hashtags Soft and WeakAsP**s.
In another tweet, Pope wrote: As a targetman, you could wear him like a Johnny. Just absolutely zero aggression. A targetmans dream.
Ahead of the FA Cup third-round clash, the veteran forward claimed he meant no ill-will against Stones – and stands by his comments from last summer.
Pope said: Hes world class but isnt very physical. Id love to play against someone like that every week rather than a League Two 6ft 5in meathead who wants to butt you at the back of the head.
My tweets have been taken slightly out of context. People have been texting me, Ha! Ha! See you against John Stones now.
I wasnt trying to belittle him. I said he was a million times a better footballer than I am, technically hes brilliant.
“But for a big man, a big striker like me, I go out every week and watch the weaknesses in a centre-half and think, Ill play off him.
People have tweeted me, See if you can score a hat-trick against Man City in the FA Cup. But Im not playing for Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and the like.
From a personal perspective, as a targetman Id rather play against a John Stones every week than a Vincent Kompany.
Pope continued by saying he hopes he can have jokes about it all with Stones after the game, adding: Ill try to have a laugh with him. Ill also tell him it wasnt meant to be derogatory.
Yes, people look at it and say, Hes taking the mick out of John Stones. But Ive already said hes a world-class defender on the ball.
Hes playing for Manchester City for Gods sake, not in League Two like me.