Will Jack Butland benefit from joining Man Utd?
England Goalkeeper Jack Butland has dismissed speculation linking him from leaving Stoke City to join Manchester United by insisting he is very happy at The Bet365 Stadium and believes he can win cups with the Potters!
Speaking on TalkSport, the young English goalkeeper said: “There are obviously things I want to achieve in my career. I want to play in the Champions League and I want to win trophies. There's no reason why we can't win a Cup at Stoke."
He continued: “If it's the right move at the right time, you never know. United, for me, are the biggest club in the world and you take those things into consideration”.
The former Birmingham City shot-stopper has seen one bookmaker slash his odds of leaving the Potters to join the Reds to a mere 7/2. However, he sounded confident about winning silverware at Stoke. He admitted he has long-term ambitions to play in the Champions League but insists there is no rush to move on.
Last year was a frustrating one for Jack. He had injured his ankle playing in England’s 3-2 win over Germany in Berlin in March 2016. This meant he was forced to miss the rest of the 2015/16 season. He also missed the European Championships in France, a tournament that he may well have been the first choice goalkeeper for after Joe Hart’s problems. He was expected to return for Stoke’s 1st Premier League match of last season, at Middlesbrough, but injured the same ankle just days before that game and then struggled with it until close to the end of the season, playing in only the final 5 games of last season.
Talking to TalkSport, he added: “I'm back in a Stoke kit at the minute and focussed on the season ahead and what will be, will be. All the rest is speculation and rumours and I don't get into that."
Jack also sounded very different to many other young players who move to bigger clubs for the money saying that “The money issue is no interest, it's about playing football and I think the best opportunity to represent your country is in England. For a goalkeeper, it's the best place to be, in the best league in the world”.
Manchester United’s current no.1 David de Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid for a number of years and if he does go, a new goalkeeper will be required. If this happens, a goalkeeper as talented as Jack Butland may well be a target for Jose Mourinho’s team. However, this transfer hasn’t happened yet, and maybe Butland will learn from the mistake made by his former teammate and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. He left Stoke in the Summer of 2015 to join Chelsea for £8 million. He was signed by the London club as a replacement for Petr Cech who had joined Arsenal. However, they still had Thibaut Courtois who was Chelsea’s no.1. This limited the number of games that Begovic played. In fact, he only seemed to play when Thibaut Courtois was injured or in certain cup games.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart is perhaps someone he speaks regularly to and when asked about playing abroad, rather than in the Premiership he said he has no desire to ever move abroad adding “The circumstances were different for Joe and he took a difficult decision to go out to Torino and credit to him. “But for me, I will always stay in England and play in this league for as long as possible."
If Jack Butland does stay at Stoke, his 1st aim for the 2017/18 season will surely be to ensure he’s no 1 for them. He faces competition from Lee Grant, a player who was Stoke’s player of last season. Although Jack took his place for the last few games of last season, it was only so Manager Mark Hughes could help build Jack’s confidence back up. After not playing for 12 months + it did help Butland overcome his injury. If anything, it was a little harsh on Lee Grant, although he did understand the Manager’s decision. The question now is, who will be 1st choice for this season?
If Jack does stay as Stoke’s number one, this may help to ensure he’s England’s number one, a role that will mean him playing in next Summer’s World Cup finals. He played half a game in the previous England match against France saying “It was my target for the European Championships last season before the injury.I want to play for my country and be successful in major tournaments, knock on that door and hopefully be in the strip for the World Cup next summer. That's my target and I'll do all I can to make sure that's where I'm going to be. I don't enjoy sitting on the bench, I don't enjoy watching.If somebody is ahead of me, I will always back them, but ultimately you want to play.
“There's no grudges. Everyone knows everyone wants to play and you back whoever is in goal. You support everyone and wait for the opportunity - and I will be working to hopefully get my opportunity this season."
Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart currently holds the number one choice of England boss Gareth Southgate, but after returning from his season-long loan at Torino, he is again looking for a move away from Manchester City. If this doesn’t happen, he won’t be playing football which would mean the likelihood of him losing his England role as being high.
Talking further to talkSport, Jack Butland said: “I can understand it's been a tough time for Joe, but if there's anyone who's going to come through the other side it's Joe because he's got the attitude. He's had a fair bit of stick and a lot of it has been unnecessary and not needed, so I hope he gets playing again and shows what a good goalkeeper he is."
If Jack was to leave Stoke and be a success at Man Utd, he would surely have a good chance of being England’s number-one as his reputation would grow further. It would certainly be a good time for this to happen because there's a fair few promising young goalkeepers capable of playing. Fraser Forster of Southampton, Bournemouth’s Tom Heaton, and Everton's new £30m newcomer Jordan Pickford are all knocking on the door. However, what Jack doesn’t want to happen, is to leave the Potters and join Man Utd, yet see David de Gea stay there and keep his place. This would put Jack in the same position as friend Asmir Begovic found himself at Chelsea, a role that would mean sitting on the bench every week. It would surely make sense therefore for Jack Butland to stay at Stoke, keep his place and perform week in, week out, a great idea for him and for the Potters! Supporters wait with baited breath to see what happens….