England news

England call for uncapped Butland

Birmingham stopper, 19, yet to make his club debut

ESPN staff

Jack Butland has not yet played for Birmingham© PA Photos

Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland, who spent this season on loan at Cheltenham, has been called up to the England squad for Euro 2012 after John Ruddy was ruled out.

Butland, 19, will move up from the standby list and will join the squad next week ahead of the Wembley clash with Belgium, after Norwich's Ruddy was ruled out with a broken finger he suffered in training.

The youngster's selection sees Bursaspor's Scott Carson overlooked and also spells bad news for Great Britain Olympic coach Stuart Pearce, as the 19-year-old was thought to be pencilled in as first choice for that tournament.

He has represented England at age groups up to under-21 but his only first-team experience at club level has come in League Two this season with the Robins.

Birmingham manager Chris Hughton, though, backed the inexperience Butland to cope with his rapid elevation through the ranks.

''It'll be great for his experience and development, I don't think he would be fazed by it,'' Hughton told Sky Sports News. ''He's a mature lad, you can't get where he is at 19 as a goalkeeper without that maturity - obviously you've got to have the ability but you need that maturity and that he does have.

''It's a massive step up but the experience he'll gain working with Ray Clemence and Dave Watson and around the quality of players will be invaluable.''

Butland himself was delighted with the call, but says he is not abandoning his Olympics dream just yet.

The Football Association have previously stated that anyone selected for Euro 2012 would not feature in the Great Britain Olympic team, which Stuart Pearce had earmarked for the Bristol-born teenager. Butland is not giving up just yet though.

While he acknowledges there will be no break once he cuts short a holiday in Mexico to join up with Hodgson's squad ahead of next weekend's friendly with Belgium at Wembley, he wonders whether his third-choice status behind Joe Hart and Robert Green could allow some flexibility.

"I'm over the moon,'' he said. "It still hasn't sunk in and I can't explain how much this means to me. It's always been a dream of mine to play for my country, and this is another step.

"I cannot wait to join up with the squad, start training and gaining some fantastic experience. But I also know the Olympics will be an incredible tournament and an experience that may not come around in Olympic form or international form again in England. If there's a chance of still being able to go, I would grasp the opportunity with both hands.''nnily enough I initially didn't think too much of him, but then he went to Colombia with the (England) Under-18s and that's where he really shone. Then he went with the under-21s and he's had this rise now.

''We've seen a fair amount of him at Cheltenham where he's performed very well, he went back after Christmas and it's been a great part of his development, so we're grateful to Cheltenham. 

''My thoughts also have to be with John Ruddy, he's had a wonderful season with Norwich and deserved that opportunity, but they certainly have a worthy replacement in young Jack.''


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