Jack Butland to be Stoke's first-choice goalkeeper
Last Updated: 17/07/15 12:32pm
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has confirmed that Jack Butland will start the season as his first-choice goalkeeper.
The 22-year-old, who captained England U21s at this summer's European Championship, is to be given his chance following Asmir Begovic’s departure to Chelsea.
Butland has made only six appearances for Stoke since joining them from Birmingham in January 2013, although he has had loan spells with Birmingham, Barnsley, Leeds and Derby.
Hughes will now give Butland the opportunity to prove himself in the Premier League, but the Welshman is also delighted to have the option of Shay Given as back-up.
Given, 39, moved to the Potters from Aston Villa earlier this month and Hughes believes his experience will be a major asset.
Hughes said: "I think the intention is to give Jack Butland a run in the side now.
We all feel Jack's time is now – he will have an opportunity to really stake a claim.
"He’s a player that we have every confidence in. He’s bided his time, he’s been patient. He’s an outstanding young ‘keeper and I think that’s acknowledged right across the board, so we all feel his time is now – he will have an opportunity to really stake a claim.
"But what we do have is a real strength in the group now – certainly with Shay joining because he has that experience and knowledge of the Premier League over many years which Jack doesn’t have at this moment in time.
"So his experience, not only training with him, but imparting his knowledge to Jack will be invaluable, not only for Jack, but Shay still sees himself as very much a number one ‘keeper and rightly so.
"So he will push Jack, absolutely, and that’s exactly why I brought him to the club. He will push Jack and make sure that if there is a situation where form dips, which it can do in any position, we have got the experience of Shay to fall back on.
"And knowing him, as I do, he would look to take that opportunity. But initially my thought is certainly to start with Jack."
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