Stoke City keeper Jack Butland already has one eye on this summer’s World Cup in Russia and knows that he has a real opportunity to stake his claim not only to be in the squad, but to be the man that England manager Southgate turns to when picking his number 1 for the tournament.
“The battle for the England number one spot is tight, there is a great selection of goalkeepers all vying for the gloves but I am up for the battle”
The 6ft 5 keeper from Bristol who only boasts 6 appearances for England so far has previously represented England U-17 in their European Championship win in 2010 which saw him named in the Team of the Tournament.
Butland believes that the two upcoming friendlies for England and his form in the remaining games for Stoke in the Premier League give him enough opportunity to stake his claim to be number 1, as long as he can perform to the best of his ability.
“We have two friendlies next week and they will test us, but that is what we need. We don’t want to be undercooked. If we want to be successful then we must play teams like Netherlands and Italy to compete.”
“Before then, I need to play well for Stoke to help us make sure we are in the Premier League next season and if I manage to do, that then I hope England selection will follow.”
Unfortunately for Butland his first chance to impress Gareth Southgate when he faced off against England teammate and competition Jordan Pickford in this weekends match against Everton didn’t go quite as he had hoped, with Butland himself saying he should have done better with Everton’s match winner after getting a strong hand to it but being unable to keep it out of the net.
Newcastle’s legendary goalkeeper Shay Given agreed with Butland’s assessment of the second goal but also added that he felt that Pickford should have done better with Stoke’s goal having adopoted a very deep starting position for Allen’s free kick.
Given himself thinks that all three keepers have an opportunity to claim the number one shirt before the tournament starts and thinks that whoever is in the best form coming in to the summer should win the shirt.