England star Butland dismisses relevance of age

The 19-year-old, who is set to become the Three Lions' youngest ever goalkeeper, believes that youth should not be a factor in the selection of squads for the national team
Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland thinks his age should have no bearing on whether or not he is included in future England squads.

The 19-year-old, who received a taste of international football by representing Team GB during the Olympic Games men's football tournament, has insisted that talent should be the defining factor.

His comments come after his inclusion in Roy Hodgson's England squad for their upcoming friendly with Italy on Wednesday in Switzerland.

"Age is just a number," Butland told The Sun. "It's not relevant to me and I wish no one made a fuss about it.

"If you are good enough you are old enough. I'd hate to think I was getting looked on favourably, or being held back due to my age."

It has been a meteoric rise for Butland, who spent last season on loan with League Two side Cheltenham Town.

Now the 6ft 4in goalkeeper is on the verge of becoming the youngest ever shot-stopper to pull on the famous Three Lions jersey.

"Joe Hart is the perfect example," he continued. "Everyone knew what a great keeper he was but when the World Cup came, people were still pointing to his age and suggesting that England needed experience.

"He never played in South Africa yet, when it was over, he was immediately handed the No.1 shirt and looked as if he'd been there all his life."