Butland: My England place is safe - for now

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England's number two kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Switzerland, and says Gareth Southgate has re-assured him about his place

England goalkeeper Jack Butland has been re-assured about his place in the national team squad by coach Gareth Southgate despite playing his club football in the Championship this season following relegation with Stoke City.

Butland replaced Jordan Pickford in the England goal and kept a clean sheet as the Three Lions beat Switzerland 1-0 at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Tuesday, and says Southgate has told him that, despite being the only player in the squad to play outside of the top flight, his international place is safe – for now.

"You can argue that the standard is different [in the Championship], but it's still a very demanding league and I still have to be at the top of my game,” Butland told Sky Sports.

"I still have to be fit, strong, train well and play well. If I can do that, I'd like to think I can stay in the squad. The manager's reassured me of that. We've had a lot of conversations.

"If I'm in the Championship beyond this season, then obviously things start to get a bit trickier, but certainly for this year he's reassured me that if I can keep my standards high, I can be a part of the team."

Despite keeping out the Swiss, Butland was twice at fault with the ball at his feet on Tuesday night, almost gifting the visitors an own goal with a stray pass and presenting former Stoke team-mate Xherdan Shaqiri with a glaring opening that he failed to take.

"It's not particularly difficult if you're comfortable doing it,” said Butland of Southgate’s instructions that England should play out from defence. “We've done it all week in training.

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"So for me, I enjoy it, I like the challenge, I like the experience of being able to do it, so it's nice to have that opportunity to do it with England."

England’s victory came three days after being beaten 2-1 by Spain at Wembley in their opening Nations League fixture. Butland watched from the bench as World Cup goalkeeper Pickford started.

 

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