Butland on verge of England debut

PA Sport
Jack Butland was part of England's Euro 2012 squad in Poland and Ukraine
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Jack Butland was part of England's Euro 2012 squad in Poland and Ukraine

England's squad begin preparations for Wednesday's friendly with Italy on Monday morning with Roy Hodgson pondering whether to offer 19-year-old Jack Butland the most remarkable international debut.

Prior to this summer, the 19-year-old's only previous experience at senior level was in npower League Two for Cheltenham last season. Then, when John Ruddy was forced to pull out of England's Euro 2012 squad, Butland was elevated into the senior ranks for the first time as third-choice goalkeeper.

Although Butland did not make an appearance in Poland and Ukraine, he made a big impression on the England coaching staff and was also allowed to play for Great Britain during their Olympic campaign. Butland again did well in front of massive crowds at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.

So, with England Under-21s not in action this week, Hodgson named Butland as his third choice again for the trip to Berne.

However, with Joe Hart ruled out due to a back injury, Hodgson has shown incredible belief in Butland by opting not to call up a replacement.

As the only other keeper in the squad is the uncapped Ruddy, someone will make their debut this week.

The question Hodgson is mulling over is whether Butland should be the man, even though the youngster himself insisted less than a fortnight ago that he was still some way off challenging Hart for his England place.

"I am still only 19 and I need to play games before I can ever think about testing Joe because he is one of the best keepers in the world at present," he told Press Association Sport.

One of Butland's Olympic team-mates, Daniel Sturridge, will not be involved either after picking up a toe injury during Chelsea's Community Shield defeat to Manchester City at Villa Park.

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