Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Stoke boss Mark Hughes hails 'outstanding' Jack Butland

Jack Butland is contracted to Stoke until the summer of 2019
Jack Butland is contracted to Stoke until the summer of 2019

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is confident goalkeeper Jack Butland will remain with the club long-term while continuing to progress at international level.

Butland has put in a string of impressive performances for the Potters this season and won his second senior England cap earlier this week.

The 22-year-old is making the most of the opportunity to establish himself as a first-choice Barclays Premier League stopper which came about following Asmir Begovic's switch from Stoke to Chelsea over the summer.

Hughes regards Butland as something of a complete goalkeeping package in the making destined for a lengthy England career, and is well aware the player is widely admired.

But he has also expressed his belief the ex-Birmingham man - who in March signed a new deal with Stoke through to 2019 - will not be following Begovic's lead in moving on to a more high-profile club any time soon.

"He is an outstanding young goalkeeper and everybody has recognised that," Hughes said.

"He has been a number one at clubs at a lower level (the likes of Derby, Leeds and Barnsley on loan) but hadn't been a main number one at Premier League level up until this point.

"He has taken that in his stride, though, like he has done with almost every step up that he has made throughout his still very young career.

"His quality of performance is high at the moment and he fully deserved to (win his second England cap) in my view.

"We all feel he has a long, long career (ahead of him) - both with us and England."

Hughes thinks Butland, who signed for Stoke from Birmingham in January 2013, has a mature attitude for his age - just one of several key attributes he sees in the Bristol-born star.

"I think that is one of his strengths as a young goalkeeper," Hughes said.

"Sometimes young goalkeepers can be a little bit frenetic, but his calmness, which is part of the maturity he shows in his personality, helps him.

"He has a lot of, if not every one of, the attributes you need as a goalkeeper to have a good career. We feel sure he will continue to progress in the same manner.

"We weren't sure in the summer whether we could keep Asmir Begovic, and I think if Asmir had stayed, we probably would have looked to get Jack out on loan for another 12 months to help his development.

"But, as it was, when it became clear Asmir was leaving, I had no qualms whatsoever about making Jack my number one because he is that good."

Hughes was speaking ahead of Monday night's Premier League away clash with Swansea.

Striker Mame Diouf will not be involved having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his mother, but defender Marc Wilson (calf) is fit to make his comeback and winger Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) should also be available.

Press Association

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