Mark Hughes was disappointed by Stoke’s performance against Arsenal, but says goalkeeper Jack Butland continues to play himself into England contention.
The 22-year-old was one of few star performers for the visitors on Saturday, restricting the Gunners to just two goals by denying the likes of Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott on multiple occasions.
Butland has been in impressive form since replacing Asmir Begovic as first-choice keeper at Stoke, and Hughes believes his young goalkeeper’s form will soon give Joe Hart some competition on the international stage with England.
Speaking to Stoke’s official website, Hughes praised Butland’s performance at the weekend, and admitted his disappointment that Roy Hodgson did not hand him an appearance for England during the international break in games against San Marino and Switzerland.
“It was a frustrating afternoon for us, and we were never able to get to grips with a good Arsenal side to be perfectly honest.
“We allowed them far too much space all over the pitch and were too passive in our defensive work in the first half which allowed them a very simple opening goal.
“We are indebted to Jack once more for denying Arsenal a far more comprehensive victory.
“He was faultless once more today, and not for the first time this season. He is continuing to show everyone how outstanding he is.
“It’s good that he is performing so well, but hopefully moving forward we give him less opportunities to pick up man of the match awards. We need other guys to hit his performance levels, which I am sure they will.
“I went to the Switzerland game hoping that he might have played in that one to be honest given that England had already qualified.
“It would have been an opportunity for Jack to play at Wembley and it would have been great for his development. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t and I think Jack was himself if he’s honest, although he would never say it.
“I’m sure Roy will look at the games he’s got ahead of him and I think he has said himself that he’s looking to take a look at other players. I’m sure Jack will be in his thoughts in that regard.
“Jack is making a case as far as England is concerned by virtue of his manner of his performances and I don’t need to add to that.
“Jack has a calmness that I think will help him develop into the outstanding ‘keeper that we think he will be.”