Jack Butland is showing he can compete with the best

Stoke City v Manchester United - Premier League

At the beginning of the season, many fans paid little attention to the goalkeepers on display.

So, as per usual, names like Thibaut Courtois, David De Gea and England's number one Joe Hart spring to mind and many fantasy teams wouldn't look any further than those three names.

Yet chants have been ringing around the Britannia Stadium this season to the chorus of: "We've got England's number one". However this was not from Manchester City fans towards Hart during their 2-0 defeat a few weeks ago. In goal for the Potters has been young Englishman Jack Butland, this year's breakout performer in the league.


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The fact Stoke have kept eight clean sheets this season should come with little surprise - they have a keeper who has been capped at every level by England and someone with bags of potential.

Yet this is only his first season as the prime choice at the Potters, following various loan spells at Championship clubs. Butland has been so impressive that he has even been tipped to start ahead of Joe Hart for England, a real testament to his quality considering Hart's dominance on the international scene since his introduction to the fray.

Butland's form has come at a time where the expected 'top' goalkeepers have been part of teams that have faltered; De Gea, part of a Manchester United team who have slid down the league over December Courtois, who has spent large spells on the sidelines with a knee injury, and Hart who has started in an inconsistent Manchester City team who have defensive frailties without captain Vincent Kompany.

All of whom have all struggled this season (both individually and as part of their respective team), which is hardly surprising when you consider the 'anyone can beat anyone' mentality that has dominated the league so far.

Butland will be the first to admit he has a long way to go before he can be considered among the best in the world, but based on this season's performances, he is well on his way.

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