Stoke City's Jack Butland is fast becoming one of the Premier League's finest shot-stoppers

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Even at the tender age of just 18-years-old, Jack Butland was touted as a man - or boy, rather - who could one day become England's number one.

Four years later and he has claimed the jersey at Stoke City and is fast becoming one of the Premier League's finest goalkeepers.

This is the first season where Butland has not just been the undisputed number one for a side in England's top flight, but also the first where he hasn't been loaned out to a Championship side.


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The England international was given a chance to showcase his ability by manager Mark Hughes in the latter stages of last season and duly performed. As a result, the 22-year-old has played every minute of this Premier League season following Asmir Begovic's summer move to Chelsea.

Butland’s journey to the top certainly hasn’t been an easy one. He started his career at Birmingham City and agreed a move to Stoke after just six months in the first team, immediately returning to the club on loan.

Since then, he has spent time on loan at Barnsley, Leeds United and Derby County in an attempt to realise his potential - and whilst Butland showed improvements at each club, he was unable to flaunt his true ability.

This season, however, he has silenced any doubters he once had and established himself as one of the Premier League's best 'keepers. The Englishman has kept nine clean sheets thus far, second only to Joe Hart and Petr Cech (10), and made the most saves with 80.

During Sunday's goalless draw against Arsenal, Butland made two fantastic saves to deny Olivier Giroud during a game where the goalkeepers stole the show, Cech also making some excellent stops.

Stoke will inevitably face the issue of trying to keep hold of Butland if a big club comes knocking, especially given that if the England shot-stopper wants to challenge Hart for the number one jersey, European football could be his best chance to do so.

He has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in recent times and it's easy to see why given the numerous mistakes made by Simon Mignolet and Adam Bogdan this season. The former recently signed a contract extension, though, quelling rumours of such interest.

If Stoke can keep hold of Butland they stand an excellent chance of consistently making the top seven, but the question remains of whether that will be good enough for one of England's rising stars.

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England Football
Premier League
Stoke City

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