Butland pushing for England place

Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland is keen to stake his claim for an England place after returning to action from a broken ankle.

Butland appeared set for a place in his country’s Euro 2016 squad but suffered the injury during the Three Lions’ 3-2 friendly win over Germany in March.

England’s first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart came under scrutiny following a pair of dreadful errors during a disappointing campaign in France and Butland, who played the first half of Stoke’s opening pre-season friendly at Burton Albion on Saturday, is determined to put himself in the frame for international recognition once more.

“That comes with playing well for Stoke,” he told the club’s YouTube channel. “That’s what I was saying last year – playing well for Stoke gives me the best opportunity for the Euros.

“Unfortunately that didn’t come about but if I keep playing well for Stoke, with clean sheets and good performances, it will give me that opportunity again.

“If that opportunity comes then I plan on taking it.”

Butland kept a clean sheet before making way at the interval and seeing Mark Hughes’ men lose 3-0 to Championship newcomers Burton.

After months of diligent work alongside Stoke’s medical staff, the 23-year-old conceded his outing at the Pirelli Stadium was as much a psychological as a physical barrier to negotiate.

“I’m really pleased to be back and get some minutes under my belt again,” he explained.

“From a mental point-of-view, the last time I was on the pitch I broke my ankle – so it was good to get through that.

“To feel what it’s like to be back on the pitch again is really good.”

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