Hughes hails ‘great’ Butland

Date published: Friday 23rd January 2015 11:32

Hughes hails 'great' Butland

Club record signing Xherdan Shaqiri made his Stoke debut and delivered the free-kick which Mame Biram Diouf headed home to give the visitors an 11th-minute lead.
But Russell Martin levelled for Norwich and Stoke were second-best after the interval, escaping with a point thanks to some great saves from Butland.
The game was played in sweltering conditions and Hughes thought the hot weather had an impact on his side as the match wore on.
“We had a great start and I thought we had a lot of control of the game in the first half,” he said.
“Xherdan Shaqiri has put in a great ball to get us off the mark and, at 1-0, we were happy with the amount of ball possession we were having as the away team, we wanted to quieten the crowd somewhat.
“But they got back into the game with a ball into the box that got recirculated, and we did not deal with the second ball.
“At 1-1 it was perhaps a bit unfair on us but second half conditions were difficult, for both teams in fairness, and the accuracy and dynamic movement we want to see in our play was tempered by the heat, which took a little bit out of our play.
“We stuck at it. Norwich came on strong towards the end and there were a lot of crosses and corners that we had to deal with.
“In the end we were grateful for a great performance by Jack Butland.
“I thought he was excellent today, making one or two key saves at key moments , which allowed us to get something out of the game.”
Asked if it was time for Butland to feature again for the England senior squad, Hughes said: “He needs to play well for us.
“I have made him number one, we all feel it is Jack’s time now.
“He has paid his dues so to speak, with loan moves, and he has done really well when he has gone out of the club, and now he has got the opportunity to really establish himself as the number one keeper.
“Performances like today won’t do him any harm whatsoever.”
Shaqiri looked very promising on his debut and Hughes liked what he saw from the Switzerland international.
“It is early days,” he said. “I thought it was important to introduce him as quickly as we could. I thought on the ball, when we got him in good areas, you could see the ability that he has.

“He moves the ball very quickly and he has got great delivery. The goal came from such a ball into the box
“Once everyone gets to understand his strengths and his qualities, where and when he wants the ball played, we will get the best out of him. At the moment , we are finding out about each other.
“He is going to be a huge player for us and affect games in a positive manner, like he did today.”
Stoke forward Jon Walters has been linked with a possible move to Norwich and sat out Saturday’s game.
But Hughes said: “He has been ill for a week and a half. He trained yesterday and did not feel great.
“I spoke to him this morning and he said he was better but I have got a lot of players that are available, so I thought it was best to get guys on the bench who are fit and well.
“We have got a game on Tuesday, we are hopeful he will be involved in that.”

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