Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland is reportedly eyeing England’s number one role ahead of this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. The 24-year-old has been one of the shining lights for the Potters this term, despite them lingering in the Premier League drop zone with just nine games remaining in the season.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Butland admitted that he has his sights on the global tournament in Russia, where he is hoping to become the first-choice shot-stopper, he said: “It’s impossible to get away from. It’s a World Cup year. It’s impossible not to turn a corner and see something about the World Cup or hear something about the World Cup. It’s in your mind, it’s something I am excited about. I hope to be a part of it – but I have always said that doesn’t happen if I am not putting in performances week in, week out for Stoke and playing at the highest level.”
Despite Butland’s comments, there is no clear clarity as to who is the prime contender for the goalkeeping duties with the likes of Nick Pope and Jordan Pickford also said to be in the reckoning. The former’s name in particular, has come through his exceptional performances between the sticks for Burnley since replacing Tom Heaton, who suffered a shoulder dislocation in September.
England’s World Cup campaign also begins with a lot of promise and expectations, but they don’t always seem to carrying it towards the latter stages of the competition. The Three Lions have suffered surprise exits in the last two major tournaments in the form of Euro 2016 and the 2014 World Cup, and Southgate has made it a norm that he would only pick players, who are featuring regularly for their respective clubs in the domestic division. As such, there may be no place for Joe Hart, who is currently warming the substitutes’ bench at West Ham United.