When Cheltenham Town played Accrington Stanley on April 14th, it is unlikely too many of the players were thinking they were in contention for a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad.
However, one would have had every reason to as goalkeeper Jack Butland has been called up for Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2012 at the age of just 19.
The youngster, on loan at Whaddon Road from Birmingham City, was previously on the five-man stand-by list, but got the call after Norwich stopper John Ruddy was forced to withdraw from the 23 due to a broken finger.
The 6ft 4ins Butland made 24 appearances in all for the Robins, keeping 11 clean sheets, which no doubt helped them progress all the way to Sunday’s play-off final at Wembley against Crewe.
Hodgson has confirmed that Andy Carroll and Robert Green will start in Saturday’s friendly in Norway, while Steven Gerrard will captain the side.
Having joined the Birmingham academy in 2007, the Bristol-born keeper first represented England at Under-16 level in October 2008 against Northern Ireland.
Butland has appeared several times for various age groups at international level, including six appearances for the Under-21s, and has now been given his chance in the full squad as back-up to Joe Hart and Robert Green for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
Cheltenham goalkeeping coach Steve Book gave his thoughts on Butland’s talent and promise in an interview with the BBC.
“Since he came to us nothing seems to fluster him. He’s a freak of nature,” he told the news provider.
“He’s calm and collected and knows what he can do – in fact, there isn’t a lot he can’t do. He’s going to be a very good goalkeeper.
“He’s got all the right tools to be a top-class goalkeeper and I think Birmingham recognised that when he was 15.”
England boss Hodgson may decide to give the youngster an outing in the final warm-up game against Belgium next Saturday at Wembley.
Meanwhile, Hodgson has confirmed that Andy Carroll and Robert Green will start in Saturday’s friendly in Norway, while Steven Gerrard will captain the side. England remain at evens for the win in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, while the draw can be had at 12/5 and a Norway win at 13/5.
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