Jack Butland delighted with ‘meteoric rise’ to Olympic fame

The Great Britain and England goalkeeper has commented on his sudden rise to fame, only months after playing fourth-tier football with Cheltenham Town
Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland is delighted with his ‘meteoric rise’ to fame after propelling himself from the lowly depths of League Two football to being picked for England’s Euro 2012 squad and representing Great Britain in the Olympics.

The 19-year-old spent the majority of last season on loan with League Two outfit Cheltenham Town, but his inclusion in both of this summer’s major international tournaments has linked the youngster with a move to the Premier League.

Butland joined Birmingham’s youth academy in 2010, with the young prospect extending his contract with the Midlands club in 2011, a deal that will keep him at St. Andrew’s until 2015.

“It has been meteoric,” Butland told The Times. “It has been a fast rollercoaster ride.

“I knew at the start of the season that I needed to go out and get games, and I had two spells at Cheltenham. I really worked hard and really enjoyed my football, but the challenges keep coming. Hopefully we [Team GB] can go a long way in this tournament and I can push on again.

“My aim for next season is to play as many games as I can again, get more experience under my belt and see where I go from there.

“I learnt at the Euros that that is the level I want to be at. That is where I want to be. The standard of the strikers there was top class. That is where I want to be for a long period of my career.”

Butland is confident that Team GB have what it takes to go all the way in the Olympic Games, but he is aware that victory over Brazil will be needed to get the Gold.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s [in the] final or the semi-final - we’re going to have to play Brazil if we want to win the competition,” Butland continued.

“I don’t expect them to get knocked out on Saturday. We know we have to play the best teams. It would never come down to manufacturing a different result to get in a different half of the draw. That would never happen.”

The Bristol-born keeper is also keen to legitimise Great Britain’s reputation as a team, despite the side’s Olympic comeback being shunned by the Football Associations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“It is understandable that the focus has not been on us. We have not played as a Great Britain team for some considerable time.

“The Olympics has solely been around other sports as far as Great Britain has been considered. We have come under the radar, but we feel we have the players to do really well. Hopefully people realise that.

“We are here to do business. We are not a Mickey Mouse team.”