Jack Butland wants to take England number one spot from Joe Hart

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Jack Butland wants to dislodge England number one Joe Hart before the 2018 World Cup and declared “bring on the competition”.

The Stoke stopper shared goalkeeping duties with Tom Heaton in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat by France, playing the second half to claim a first international cap since breaking his ankle in Germany last March.

Manager Gareth Southgate stressed the decision to run the rule over the pair did not mean Hart had lost his first-choice status but his club future is in flux, with no future at Manchester City and no obvious destination for next season.

Butland conceded the winning goal in Paris, when Ousmane Dembele drilled into the bottom corner, but made a couple of important saves and twice rushed from his box to clear danger as 10-man France surged.

“It’s no secret I want to be number one,” he told Press Association Sport.

“Of course that’s my target. I’ve never shied away from that and always said that’s where I want to be. That’s my main focus going forward.

“The injury meant I lost a whole season and a European Championship, which was my goal after my first full season in the Premier League – to be number one for the tournament last summer.

“Now the focus turns to staying fit, having a good season with Stoke and the World Cup; that’s where I want to be, representing my country at a World Cup and I want to win.

“The manager’s decision is down to the manager but I can only do my bit and make sure I’m putting my name forward by doing as well as I can.”

England are better stocked between the posts than they have been for some time, with Fraser Forster an unused fourth keeper in the current squad and Jordan Pickford set to swap Sunderland for Everton in a British record deal worth up to £30million.

Butland, 24, sees even more challengers emerging from the next generation but is more than happy to scrap for his spot in the pecking order.

“For years we’ve had keepers criticised in England but we’ve got plenty coming through – Freddie (Woodman) has just won the Under-20 World Cup, there’s the other under-20 keepers Angus Gunn and Jonny Mitchell too. The key thing for them is getting games.

“Jordan now has that with Everton, Angus has been on loan at Norwich and what Freddie does next season is important for him.

“But it’s brilliant to see them doing well. Bring on the competition, it’s good for me.”

Source: PA




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