Butland expecting fight to be Stoke's first choice goalkeeper

The 20-year-old, who was signed by axed boss Tony Pulis in January before returning to Birmingham on loan, believes everyone has a "fresh" chance to impress new boss Mark Hughes
Jack Butland is readying himself for a tough battle to be Stoke's first choice goalkeeper, though believes every player is "on the same page" after the appointment of new manager Mark Hughes.

The 20-year-old was initially signed by Tony Pulis in January from Birmingham as competition for Asmir Begovic and Thomas Sorensen, and remained at St Andrew's on loan for the rest of the season.

But Hughes has since replaced Pulis as manager at the Britannia Stadium, and Butland is keen to impress the new boss when he meets up with the rest of the Potters squad for pre-season training.

Butland told Talksport: "It is a bit weird. I was signed by Pulis, and now he’s gone, but I was never really integrated into the set-up [having returned to Birmingham on loan], so this is a fresh start for everyone and puts everyone on the same page.

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"But I’ve still got to impress the manager and put in the same effort. I was never expecting to walk in as No.1.

"I’m still only 20, still learning the game. The target, of course, is to be No.1, the same as it is for the other goalkeepers, so I’ll go in and try to show the manager what I can do and we’ll take it from there."

Stoke's new Under-21s coach Glyn Hodges believes Hughes will give the Potters' youngsters the chance to shine next season, which will boost Butland's hopes of usurping Begovic.

"Mark is very interested in building clubs; he doesn’t just come in and concentrate on the first team," Hodges told the club’s official website:

"He will be looking to the academy and what’s going on there and taking a keen interest.

"For me, he plays football the right way – he wants to get the ball on the ground and play which will help these kids progress as young footballers wherever that may be, but hopefully for Stoke City."

Butland was recently part of England's European Under-21 Championship last month, a tournament that saw his side finish bottom of the group with no points, and the young shot-stopper was disappointed with the Young Lions' performances in Israel.

He added: "We were very disappointed. We didn’t do ourselves justice or play to the level we know we can.

"To not pick up a point was embarrassing, and that’s not what we’re about. It was very disappointing but we must learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again."