The 24-year-old has also revealed how he wishes to play for a side in the Champions League as well being England’s No 1
A WEEK after a fellow goalkeeper was KO’d by a striker’s boot, Jack Butland wishes the beautiful game was more PHYSICAL.
Mind you, the Stoke and England stopper was a schoolboy rugby star.
The teenage centre and No 8 was tipped for a career with the oval ball until Birmingham offered him a chance with the round one.
Butland, 24, said: “At the time when Birmingham came I had started playing for the county and the two sports were pretty much neck and neck.
“I had to make a call and chose football.
“But I miss the physical side of rugby, which I loved — we all know what football is like now.
“My brother plays rugby and I like watching him.
“You do get a bit of leniency as a goalkeeper, you can almost buy a foul sometimes.
“I remember once I misplaced a pass against Swansea and ended up, rush of blood to the head, chasing after it and putting in a tackle on Andre Ayew that should have been a red.”
In an age when a keeper only has to be breathed upon to win a free-kick, it is surprising to hear one talk about wanting to get stuck in more, especially after events at the Etihad last Saturday.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane got a red card for a high challenge on Manchester City keeper Ederson, which left the Brazilian with a nasty facial injury.
Butland admitted: “We had a few conversations in the Stoke dressing room about whether it was a red card or not. I can see both sides. If my striker’s through on goal and there’s a chance to nick it … it’s fine margins.
“But his foot was very high, he hit him in the face and made no contact with the ball.
“So I find it difficult to disagree with the decision.”
Butland has played a key role in Stoke’s bright start to the season, which has seen them lose just one of their opening five matches.
The highly-rated keeper has been linked with a move to a top-four club and admitted he may have to quit Stoke one day to fulfil his Champions League dream. He said: “I’ve never hid the fact that I want to play at the top, be England’s No 1 and win trophies.
“But while I’m at Stoke, I’ll always try to do that here.
“I’m sure Stoke fans would be happy for me if it happened. It’s good I’ve got that sort of relationship with them and the club.”
Butland is desperate to become his country’s first choice, despite the criticism Joe Hart has had.
He added: “Being England No 1 comes with great scrutiny.
“That frustrates me because I know what Joe is like as a person and how good a goalkeeper he is. It’s not fair.
“It is tough to see because I hope to one day be in his position and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of that. But it is part of the job.”
- Jack Butland swapped saves for slam dunks at the launch of NBA 2K18, out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch.
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