Often Partisan

Butland and England

Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland could be in the rather bizarre position of making his senior England debut before his Blues debut on Wednesday after former Blues keeper Joe Hart pulled out of the Italy friendly. It’s been a meteoric rise for Butland – England’s 3rd choice at Euro 2012, Team GB first choice at the Olympics and now this. Will he really be given the nod?

I must admit, I find it all a bit crazy – I was a bit surprised that he was called up for England again for this game with John Ruddy now fit. I’m not sure what’s happened to QPR new boy Rob Green – I’ve  not seen any mention of him being injured and I can only assume he’s been dropped as they wanted to give youth a chance. Hodgson has taken that further by not calling a replacement up for Hart meaning England will go with a rookie goalie – and it would be hard to bet against Butland bearing in mind he did okay for Team GB.

I think I’m a bit of a Jonah where Butland is concerned. I’ve seen him play three times now for Blues – the third being the 3-1 defeat against Royal Antwerp – and I’ve never seen him have a really good game. He was okay against Antwerp – he made some good catches, a couple of good punches and showed some great control with his chest but he undid all that with an absolute howler to hand Antwerp their first goal. It really should have been an easy catch but he let it go over his head and have the Belgian team the chance to equalise from inches into an unguarded net.

It’s because I’ve never seen him have a great game I have to profess my scepticism that he is the next great goalkeeping hope. I have no doubt that in reality the coaches and the players who swear by Jack’s talent are probably right and I’m probably wrong – but still – I’ve never seen it. Even in the bits of the Team GB games I watched I wasn’t massively impressed. The thing is, Butland is 19 – one poor game for England could potentially ruin his career before it begins. For that matter, a few poor games for Blues in the Championship and he’ll have a heavy millstone around his neck. It worries me that he’s being pushed maybe a bit too far a bit too early.

If I’m utterly honest, I hope Ruddy gets the nod. It’s nice having a talent come through the Academy but I want our talents to be great for Blues, not other teams. I’ve always been club massively before country and I don’t want Butland to be put in the position where he maybe buckles under the expectation. I guess it makes me a spoilsport, a naysayer and a doom-mongerer but I honestly feel that it would be better for Butland’s career if he was pushed up through the ranks a little slower than he is currently on the international level.

One person who may well benefit from this is David Lucas. Brought in as third choice cover from Rochdale, I can see Lucas competing with Doyle for the spot on Tuesday night. He’s been impressive over the pre-season and I’d like to think that maybe he’s done enough to give Lee Clark a bit of a selection headache for the slot.

Needless to say, if Butland does get the nod and gets his first cap I’ll be rooting for him to prove me wrong and show that he is indeed ready for the national stage, let alone the Championship. I hope that Butland is still talked about as the next big thing come Thursday morning and not pitied as someone whose star shone too soon.

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30 Responses to “Butland and England”

  • BluenoseDownunder says:

    Surely there are more proven GKs that they can draw from? I wasn’t impressed with JB’s performance in the GB team, and in one game he let in a goal from a shot that i think i would have saved! As you pointed out though clearly those in the know rate him and he is very young still so who are we to say otherwise. The proof will be a full season of championship football in the #1 jersey with us in a promotion spot, then i hope i can look back at this post and say i was wrong about him.. KRO

  • Letsby_Avenue says:

    Yawn time.

    Jack has not played ANY first team matches for Blues before last Saturday…that was his FIRST.

    To have seen him play 3 times for Blues must mean the Academy/ Reserves, were the other two, and you are including those in your panorama of judgement?

    Did you see him at Cheltenham? Did he make a mistake?
    Have you seen Doyle make a mistake?

    I used to have an editor who, when things were too calm used to instruct some poor sod to do 500 words on why we don’t need the monarchy / Beatles / Nuclear Weapons…and sometimes something gelled. Mostly it was just yawn time. Like detention.

    When a half thought becomes a semi-diatribe.

    Much like this AJ.

    Jack does not deserve this form of criticism.
    He has not played ONE competitive senior match for Blues. However many times you’ve seen him.
    He is 19…knock him, criticise him?

    Jesus mate. Reign in your ego.

    • almajir says:

      Are players immune to criticism because of their age?

      Is it wrong to say “this might be happening too fast, let’s not ruin the poor kid?”

      Is it really necessary to talk about editors and the like to make people realise you were a journalist and thus you know what you are talking about?

      May I humbly suggest that opinion is opinion – that it is not offered as something that is divinely right but something that it is up for discussion?

      I’d also suggest it may not be my ego that needs to be reigned in…


      • BobbyBlue says:

        Agreed! Reign in it in Letsby… this isnt a website for educating journalists and you certainly aren’t the professor! Less of your critiques of almajir’s writing style and choice of subject and let’s just have an opinion on Butland!

        Personally, i think there is more to lose than gain from Butland playing on Wednesday night. I very much doubt his confidence needs any boosting after the last couple of months! I also worry that, as with any raw talent, he is capable of a mistake which could prove costly given his playing position (and will therefore be memorable). I’d far rather he made those mistakes in a blues shirt away at Ipswich Town than in front of the full gaze of the nation’s media. So I’d rather he didn’t play but would obviously be delighted for the guy if he did. Every kids dream.

      • Dino Tiltoni says:

        your points are all well made AJ except for the suggestion that journalists know what they are talking about.

        most of us want JB to do well and a couple of great saves will see his price rise again. Let’s face it , who we can get in for JB’s transfer value (such as a new right back now that Carr is sidelined again) could me more valuable than having a rookie goalie this season.

  • swissjonny says:

    We are playing a game of high stakes poker with JB. A couple of howlers in the championship,a loss of confidence and a huge fall in value.On the other hand a great season in the championship,the cementing of an England place and a huge increase in value.Im just delighted that we feel strong enough to play this game.Surely a positive sign?

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    I share your concern. At the moment Butland has potential – which is hyped up in the newspapers. He has made errors that have cost goals in his last two games. We don’t know if he is another Joe Hart or a Scott Loach/Joe Lewis (both called up to England Squads aged 20ish and both transferred to another Championship team this Summer) and we won’t know until he plays regular first team football. He has had more than enough international exposure in the Olympics – I don’t see what is to be gained by playing him against Italy. His development would best be served by letting him settle into regular Championship football and seeing if he can perform consistently week in, week out.

  • Chris says:

    The worrying thing about Butland is, & has already been said, he makes mistakes that cost goals, I know it’s down to inexperience & I know he’ll only get better through game time but this is a very important season for Blues & i’m not sure it’ll do the lad or us any good. I honestly think he’d be better off going back out on loan to a lower div team to get that much needed experience, we have 2 goalies with much more experience of the pressures of promotion & are more that capable of stepping up to the mark. I want to see JB between the sticks in the future but I think this season is too soon. KRO

  • Kaje says:

    It always surprises me when people are fearful of new talent coming through, especially in potentially dangerous positions such as between the sticks.

    If I’m truly honest, I’ve only ever seen Doyle have one superb game – the rest of the time he’s looked as shaky and mistake prone as the Butland described above. Lucas is quite old even for a goalkeeper and his reactions have cost teams a few times – infact, he himself describes his best performance as being over 10 years ago in the Preston play-off game against us!

    I think this season is right for Doyle. 19 is a fine age for a goalkeeper to make his step up into the senior side. He’s had a cracking time with Team GB – who’s relatively early exit was more to do with poor ball winning and possession keeping than goal keeping – and it really is time he started for Blues on a regular basis.

    He’s already had his time in the lower leagues and those around him – including Clark, Watson (now of Norwich) and Hughton (also now of Norwich, obviously) feel he’s ready – and let me assure you, they know a lot more about the beautiful game than anybody who has posted or will post on here!

    I agree with Almajir in saying trust them to make the right decisions and lets get behind him when he does play. After all, we’ve done alright for young talent of late!

    • KeeprightCroydON says:

      Hi Kaje
      On balance I agree with you. He’s done his time in a lower league and now has to go up a notch to assist his development. He can only improve if he’s tested at a higher level, and he’s already served his League One apprenticeship. But also agree with Al that he’s not ready for England. Excusable him being in the Euro squad because of the number of injuries to those higher up the pecking order, but really he should have at best been 4th choice for this friendly.
      Regarding his mistakes for the goals against S. Korea and Antwerp, yes they are a concern, but I suspect they are being magnified because he is under more scrutiny because of who he is. It has be be remembered that in both cases his has had relatively little time to build up an understanding with his defence. I seem to remember that Hart, Foster and Myhill were all a tad suspect when they initially came into the team, but improved as the build up a rapport with the defence and their confidence grew. The GB call up and now Eng is delaying his bedding into the team. Ideally would have been best if he played all the friendlies.

  • Gareth says:

    While I’ll be happy for him if he plays (and of course, it will only look favourably on blues and our academy), I do think it’d be massively unfair on Ruddy, who had a good season at Premiership level, compared to a guy who’s played ~20 games at League 2 level.

  • Blue blood says:

    It seems catch 22 to me? But I’d rather butland play for us than anyone else, ruddy IMO deserves to start over butland, not only that but other teams might start sniffing around him again if he Plays out of his skIn on the international stage, I’d rather he play out of his skin for blues in the championship & become part of a promotion into the prem where his talents can realy be put on Show. Then we can sell him for an eye popping fee KRO

  • GB Blue says:

    I disagree with some of these posts. Aside from the mistake against Korea I though Butland was excellent at the olympics and in the match against Brazil. He did make an error at the weekend but is it more that we are over analysing every move because his rise has come so much in the public spotlight?

    Should he play for England? I will be incredibly proud if he does but very nervous as any mistake will be crucified. Will he be a future England No 1 regardless, I suspect so.

  • nick wicky says:

    I think these are thing are things he needs to work on with the new goalkeeping coach john vaughn,but overall his performances have been good apart from a few lapses in concentration. He should be given the chance to show what he can do iif not we’ve still got doyle and Lucas. You might want to sub him though if there was a last minute penalty decision!

  • nick wicky says:

    Before people make judgement I think they should remember that the team that played royal antwerpwas severly weakened.only a few of those players will face Barnet or play in the first league match. It was noticeable that most of the passing was square and back and only a few players were trying to get the ball moving forward. people criticised zigic but he was trying to get the ball moving. every player makes a mistake now and again. if that had been doyle in goal we would never hear the end of it! Of course he would have saved the penalties.

  • Pete says:

    Has anyone who hasn’t played in the lofty heights of League One or higher yet ever gained a full England cap before?

  • krotom says:

    I believe football has now become a game of the present rather than the future. Sadly it appears that academy development on the playing side only benefits Premiership clubs who have the finance to buy the cream that rises to the top.
    In this case JBs rise to the top has been rapid and does question the lack of goalkeeping talent available for England.
    I have seen JB make howlers for GB, Blues and Cheltenham and with hindsight am not surprised..
    The lad is young and i hope wise. I would like to see him waiting for another season and continue to develop his skills perhaps in cup matches . I cannot think of many keepers who have reached a high level of success and sustained that through their career . I can think of a number that went through similar hype and suffered e.g. Carson, Wright.

    The business point is the saddest. If he does play first team football and continues to make mistakes his value will drop if he performs well he will be snapped up by a premiership club oddly perhaps to sit on the bench. I have had a look through the premiership clubs and cannot see a club where i believe he will gain a first team place immediately.
    Perhaps , the solution is to sell him for silly money but keep him on loan for as long as possible.

    Keep up the good work AJ

    • nick wicky says:

      hopefully now people will get off doyles back. he came into blues team from the acadamy at 19 and performed heroics to get blues promoted including a penalty save against wolves, but because of a howler against west ham in the prem he was dropped and has had only a few sporadic games since. when the ball slipped out of his hands in the rainy play-off match last year everyone called him a donkey. ok his kicking is not as good as butlands,but would he have dropped that shot? he would probably have saved the pens too! It may be that butland will have to be rested throughout the season and the other goalies used?

    • tmsblues says:

      I think you have it just right. Sell him now and loan him back. I hope he’s going to be brilliant but I also worry that using him too soon might cost the team too many points and affect morale. Goalie mistakes are more often goals elsewhere on the pitch you can more readily correct mistakes or recover from them so its a bigger risk blooding young talent in goals than elsewhere!

  • AR says:

    For Letsby to say that one cannot judge a goalkeeping performance on games played at a lower level shows how poor his judgement is. A mistake is a mistake at any level. His condescending & patronising attitude I could well do without on this site.

  • andy says:

    At the end of the day Butland is rated very highly by fellow professionals and he is Birmingham’s number one this coming season. Blues turned down a reported £6 million bid from Southampton which i think we all agree was the right thing to do. We have been spoilt recently with Hart and Foster between the sticks, and even they dropped the odd clanger! Both rate Butland and im looking forward to seeing the kid play for us this season.

  • Tamuffblue says:

    My concern with all the Butland hype is the role of Hodgeson and Watson !!!!!! I firmly believe that Hodgeson as an agenda with Blues that started with his snidey way over Foster and then Ridgewell and Watson seems to be the guru that has to be listened to !!!!!!!! Its as if they are pushing him into the shop window

  • Oldbluenose says:

    It is very worrying that J,B. is being put under too much [ high-profile ] pressure far to soon, !!.

    He needs to be playing club football with a regular defence so that he and us can all benifit from the regularity that will breed confidence, !!.

    Why all this talk of him having a good England game, to raise his asking price, ?. Surely we want him for OUR No one for years to come, ?.

  • Anonymous says:

    Did nobody watch the Brazil and Uruguay games?!

    • skareggae72 says:

      Yes,& Butland was impressive,although he does make the odd rick,just like Hart did when he first came to us,& look at him now!,although both of these GKs need some penalty coaching.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    There is no doubt about Watson’s influence in this matter, but I trust his judgment ,on all things goalkeeping , & it bodes well Butland is so highly thought of.

    However there is no precedent for a young lad with only a handful of League One appearances to be elevated to the Full England Squad. That probably says more about the current quality of English goalkeepers outside Hart , who are available for selection.

    If LC does decides to make Butland his No1 then he will have to stay loyal to him , & work through any howlers.
    Indeed we will all have to remain patient , as the the potential to crash & burn will remain high…

  • Ben says:

    Odds on 45minutes each?

    Butland is a very good keeper – infact of his age I have only seen two better one was J.Hart the other is currently playing Non-League football; but even they aren’t perfect players and nor will this lad be.
    He has got great qualities and has the potential to become a star, but so have many other keepers in the world.
    Yes he should play for England and if he has a howler, then so be it. If he is ever going to make it we have to take him out of the cotton wool – what will make/break him is the reactions of both us(the fans), them(the coaching side) and himself.

    Give him a chance I say

  • Paulo says:

    Butland needs less spotlight agro and should be given a season to find his own feet and adjust to the league he is in ..as CH said; the championship is a very unforgiving league!
    There is the biggest possibility that JB will choke when all this media becomes too intense, and he has to live up to the standards certain journo’s and maybe even Roy Hodgson are expecting of him. If he can do his job 24/7 under that scrutiny, then he should be Prime MInister, but I doubt anyone can do it. This season is going to be a big eye opener for him and us, as we all know how ruthless our opposition will be …especially knowing who’s in goal.
    And if LC hasn’t got our back four in top gear, then JB and our midfield are going to struggle.

    It’s a bit ‘down’ i admit, but I want to see JB have a cracking time and really develop here at St Andrews, and I’m sure mistakes will be made, but it’s the moments when it goes so well that I can’t wait to see.
    I hope the crowd get behind Butland and the lads big time, and we have the chance to reach those play offs again.

  • m says:

    As has been written previously, people who are a much better judge of football and footballers than anybody on this blog rate Butland and that is good enough for me. He played well for GB in my opinion bar the goal he let in against S Korea. Also consider that he was playing behind a makeshift defence. Some game time against Italy would do him some good….Hart, Foster and Seaman all improved with experience. Butland will be the same. Unlike you to be a naysayer Almajir. Though reservation is a good trait to have let it not curtail optimism:-) Forza Blues.

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