JACK BUTLAND should be handed the gloves and told to make England great again in Russia this summer.
World Cup winner Gordon Banks claims it’s time for a changing of the guard where England’s goalies are concerned and Butland has now overtaken long-term No1 Joe Hart as Gareth Southgate’s safest pair of hands.
The former Potters’ stopper, who has a statue of himself clutching the world cup, outside the bet365 Stadium, said: “Jack is definitely our number one as far as I’m concerned.
“I would love to see Jack as England’s No.1 and would be so proud of him.
“When I think of Joe Hart I think of his age and how he’s playing, then I look at Jack and definitely think he should be the one playing now.
“Whether Jack is the man next summer depends on how many starts he gets for England between now and then.
“If the manager thinks he’s got it in him to be number one, then he will bang him into the friendly matches to have a real good look at him and to make sure he’s ready.
“If he keeps with Joe Hart, that won’t be great news for Jack.”
England face Germany and Brazil at Wembley next month and Banks said: “Those games will give us an idea of how Gareth Southgate is thinking because they are top, top countries and obviously very difficult games.
“I’ll be disappointed if Jack doesn’t get at least one of those matches.”
Butland spared teammate Michael Keane’s blushes as the goalie earned his sixth senior cap in Lithuania with a stunning one-handed save to push the Everton defender’s net-bound shot round the post.
“What a save that was,” said Banks.
“It was going in and they are among the hardest to save.
“When they are on the floor like that and nearly touching the inside of the post, you’ve got to both leap across and at the same time get down low to get a hand on it.
“Concentration is 100 per cent when that happens. When you’re not busy, you’ve always got to be aware that this kind of thing can happen any time, even off one of your own players.
“You’ve got to be ready for that big moment and produce to show your concentration levels are up to the mark.
“Jack is learning all the time, but he has what it takes now. You see him shouting at his defenders all the time to pick up.
“He distributes the ball well, whether it’s a short throw or a long kick, and his shot stopping we know all about.”
However Banks was less impressed by England and hopes they can step up a level against old foes Germany and Brazil to change the mood before the Three Lions head for Russia.
“After watching the last two games, we’ve got to really, really improve a lot because it’s been so boring,” he said.
“We haven’t created enough chances and tip-tapping the ball about is never getting us anywhere. We have to get on with it.
“But I do like Harry Kane. He scores goals on a regular basis, works hard and is good on the floor for a big man.”
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