Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland has been given a boost in his hopes of making the England squad for the upcoming European Championship. England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that he is considering the 30-year-old as one of his options, after being impressed by his performances for the Scottish champions.
Butland’s remarkable comeback
Butland joined Rangers on a free transfer from Crystal Palace last summer, after spending the previous season on loan at Manchester United without playing a single game. He had fallen out of favour at Palace, where he had signed from Stoke City in 2019.
Butland had been a regular for England under Roy Hodgson, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to play for the national team at 19 in 2012. He won nine caps and was part of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, he lost his place to Everton’s Jordan Pickford and was last called up by Southgate in 2019 for the Nations League finals. Since then, he has struggled to find regular game time at club level, until his move to Rangers.
Butland’s impressive form for Rangers
Butland has been a revelation for Rangers, helping them win the cinch Premiership title and the Viaplay Cup in his first season. He has kept 18 clean sheets in 32 appearances in all competitions, and has shown his quality and experience in big games.
He was particularly outstanding in the Europa League, where he made crucial saves against Lyon, Braga and Club Brugge. He also played a key role in the Old Firm derby against Celtic, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win at Ibrox.
Butland has earned the admiration and respect of his teammates, manager Philippe Clement and the Rangers fans, who have nicknamed him “The Wall”. He has also expressed his happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to play for such a huge club.
Butland’s chance of making the England squad
Butland’s form for Rangers has not gone unnoticed by the England staff, who have been monitoring his progress. England goalkeeping coach Martyn Margetson told Record Sport that Butland is “definitely on the radar” and that he is “doing himself a power of good”.
Southgate has also confirmed that he is thinking about including Butland in his squad for the Euros, which will be held in Germany this summer. He said that he is facing a dilemma with his goalkeeping options, as some of his regulars are either injured or not playing regularly for their clubs.
Pickford is still the undisputed number one, but the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone and Nick Pope are either on the bench or out of action. Southgate said that he has to watch everybody, and that Butland is an experienced goalkeeper who is playing at a high level.
Butland faces competition from other candidates, such as James Trafford and Dean Henderson, who are also in contention. However, he has a chance of making the cut, if he continues his fine form for Rangers until the end of the season.
Butland will be hoping to get a call from Southgate in March, when England will play two friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, as part of their preparations for the Euros. He will be eager to prove himself and earn a place in the final 23-man squad, and fulfil his dream of representing his country again.