Butland prepared to wait

Jack Butland insists he is more than happy to continue developing his game with the England Under-21 team.

Last Updated: 24/03/13 at 13:28 Post Comment

Jack Butland: Happy in England Under-21 squad

Jack Butland: Happy in England Under-21 squad

An injury to Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy meant 20-year-old Butland was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson's senior England squad for last year's European Championship.

Ben Foster's decision to end his international exile, and the recent call-up of Celtic's Fraser Forster, means Butland has had to drop back down to the Under-21 set-up this week.

While the England squad gear up for a crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro on Tuesday, Butland has had to settle for the less glamorous prospect of playing an Under-21 friendly against Austria tomorrow night in Brighton.

But knowing full well that he has time on his side, Butland is happy to keep honing his skills with Stuart Pearce's Young Lions in the hope that he can once again earn a call to the senior set-up.

"I think it is well evaluated and decided between both the seniors and Under-21s, but I am happy either way because it is experience and developing my game," the goalkeeper said.

"I can't complain. I feel privileged to be involved with the seniors and the Under-21s. It is something I feel very happy and proud to be a part of and I am looking forward to what is ahead."

Butland has experienced an incredible year, going from a loan spell at League Two side Cheltenham to earning his first cap for the England senior team against Italy in August.

He also represented Great Britain at London 2012 and sealed a move to Premier League side Stoke in January after turning down Chelsea.

With Foster coming back into the fold, and Ruddy due to recover from his latest injury at the end of the season, competition is increasing in the bid to oust Joe Hart from his position or even back him up, but Butland hopes there will be more opportunities to prove himself with the seniors after a memorable debut in Berne, where England won 2-1.

"The Italy game was the best feeling I've ever had," Butland said.

"I was almost pinching myself during the game thinking, 'What's going on here?'.

"I feel very thankful to Roy and the staff for giving me the opportunity and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully there will be more."

Turning down Chelsea to move to one of the most unfashionable teams in the top-flight surprised many, but there is logic behind the youngster's decision.

Ross Turnbull was one of the most highly-rated young English goalkeepers in the game when Chelsea snapped him up on a free transfer from Middlesbrough in 2009, but four years on, the 28-year-old has only made six Barclays Premier League starts after being unable to take the number one jersey off Petr Cech.

With highly-rated Belgian Thibaut Courtois also on the books at Stamford Bridge, and presently impressing on loan at Atletico Madrid, Butland's prospects of first-team football in west London would have looked bleak.

And he has no regrets about opting to move to Stoke, who he will join in the summer after being bought and then loaned back to Birmingham in January.

"I think every decision I have made has been helped out by a lot of other people and I think they've all been the right decisions," added Butland.

"Everything is well talked about between me, my family and the people involved in my career."

Butland kept goal in Thursday night's 3-0 win over Romania - a result which stretches the Young Lions' unbeaten run to eight matches.

The Under-21s have not conceded a goal during that run, and Butland thinks the squad looks in good shape ahead of this summer's European Championship in Israel.

"If you keep clean sheets, with the quality we've got a chance to score," Butland said.

"That can only be a good thing. We've got some very good players playing well in every position, which is what we've proved for a long, long time and we will continue that into the tournament."


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