Jack Butland: Joe Hart is 'almost immovable' as England No 1
Last Updated: 14/10/15 11:22pm
Jack Butland feels Joe Hart is almost an "immovable object" as England's first-choice goalkeeper but has vowed to continue fighting for his place.
Manchester City's two-time Premier League winner has racked up 55 international appearances, to make him the third most-capped active player after Wayne Rooney and James Milner.
Hart is arguably the first name on Roy Hodgson's team sheet, but Butland's attitude and aptitude is certainly catching the England manager's eye.
Just over three years on from his debut, the 22-year-old won his second international cap as Lithuania were swatted aside 3-0 in Vilnius, sending the Three Lions to Euro 2016 with a 100 per cent record in qualification.
Butland knows that was not the kind of game that will make huge ripples, but he is determined to make Hart sweat in the build-up to next summer's tournament in France.
"You've always got to back yourself," he said. "I am not someone who enjoys being on the bench.
"I won't kick up a fuss and I will always want the team to do well and always be a team man, but ultimately I want to play as well.
"Joe is a fantastic keeper, who I've known for a long time.
"Rightly so he is the No 1 - he is established in the Premier League, has over 50 England caps. It is very tough, he is almost an immovable object at the minute.
"But I want to be in the England squad, I want to play and there's nothing wrong with competition.
I want to be in the England squad, I want to play and there's nothing wrong with competition.
"Us being in that squad, I know he drives me on. During training sessions with Tommy Heaton as well, there's always comments flying about, helping each other, encouraging each other and it's a really good environment.
"I know I improve when I come away with England and hopefully I can have the same effect on some of the others."
Butland is unlikely to have to wait another three years to represent the senior team, such is the progress he has made during that period.
Now a far more experienced and mature shot-stopper, the goalkeeper has established himself as Stoke's first-choice goalkeeper and has been one of their players of the season.
"I am enjoying the opportunity to play in the Premier League," he said. "I feel positive, strong, fit and sharp.
"I am really happy with where things are at the minute and just trying to play with a smile on my face, enjoy every minute I get for Stoke and try to keep the ball out of the net.
"If I can keep doing that, then hopefully I will stay in this squad and maybe get a few more opportunities."