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Jack Butland names surprising player that he thinks is the best in the England squad

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The countdown to the World Cup begins in earnest this week, with the first set of friendlies to prepare for the tournament set to take place.

England play four times between now and their first group game against Tunisia, starting with a trip to the Netherlands on Friday night.

They then face Italy next Tuesday, and Nigeria and Costa Rica make up the final two opponents at the start of June.

Realistically, there isn't a huge chance for players to stake their claim for a starting berth in Russia in just four fixtures, which is potentially a worry because Gareth Southgate still doesn't know what his
best team is.

It is healthy to have such strong competition for places though, with plenty of bright stars coming through.

While there may not be as much quality as at previous tournaments, certainly with regards to experience, the squad is definitely a lot deeper than it has been before.

With a somewhat kind draw, Belgium aside, there should be fairly high expectations ahead of the World Cup.

One player who is almost assured of his spot on the plane to Russia is Jack Butland, though he faces stiff competition for the #1 jersey.

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Butland has six caps to his name, and is battling against Jordan Pickford, Joe Hart and Nick Pope for game time in the current squad.

He may not even be a Premier League player come the curtain opener in Russia though, with his club Stoke City mired in a relegation dogfight, and they're currently 19th in the table.

The former Birmingham City stopper will be hoping to build momentum for the summer with his country in the meantime, though they will have to do without star man Harry Kane.

Losing arguably the world's best striker leaves a major hole to fill, and when Butland was asked to name the best player in the squad, he gave a rather surprising answer, as you can see in the video below.

It seems Jack Wilshere has left a rather lasting impression on the 25-year-old, despite his struggles to impress his Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Wilshere is out of contract in the summer, and Wenger wants him to take a pay cut to stay, but Butland believes there he is the most technically gifted man England have at this moment.

"If it wasn't for his injuries, someone like Jack Wilshere," he said when asked to give his opinion on their best player.

Slovenia v England - UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier

"His all-round game, he loves a tackle. He can also be a bit of a hard man and get stuck in, but incredibly technical with a great ability.

"Jack's been very unfortunate with injuries. Everyone knows what he's like in his prime, his ability to glide past people and put the ball on right on the spot for people.

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"And then his ability to break up the game, and his England record for goals is pretty good. He loves a long-range strike, he's got it all.

"A fit Jack Wilshere is certainly up there for me."

Having been sent out on loan to Bournemouth last year, Wilshere impressed both at the Vitality Stadium and for Arsenal this season, and has forced his way back into Southgate's squad.

England fans will be hoping he can stay maintain his fitness, as he provides a very different and dynamic option for his country in midfield.

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Topics:
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Bournemouth
England Football
Arsenal
Jack Wilshere
World Cup
Stoke City
Football

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