Butland eyes Champions League switch

Stoke City

Jack Butland claims Stoke fans would understand if he decided to leave the club to join a team playing in the Champions League.

The 24-year-old admits he has big ambitions, including replacing Joe Hart as England’s No.1 goalkeeper in time for the 2018 World Cup, while he also has his sights set on playing in Europe’s top club competition.

While the Potters have had a taste of European football recently, competing in the Europa League in the 2011-12 season, it is highly unlikely they can secure a top-four spot and a place in the Champions League in the process.

While he believes playing for Stoke will not obstruct him in his dream of becoming an England regular, he admits that he may have to leave the bet365 Stadium to achieve his Champions League ambitions, and believes the Potters faithful would be sympathetic if he moved on.

“I’ve always said and I’ve never hid the fact that I want to play at the top, be England’s No.1 and win trophies,” Butland told the Daily Mirror. “While I’m at Stoke, I’ll always try to do that.

“But me and the fans, they know I have targets and ambitions, and they’d be happy for me if that (playing in the Champions League) happened. It’s good that I’ve got that sort of relationship with them and the club.

“It’s testing yourself, not just against the best in this country but the best the rest of the world has to offer and the best in Europe. You don’t get to play against them very often, playing against teams that you are not aware of.

“It can only enhance you as a player, your IQ and understanding of the game against teams who play different ways, different styles and in the Champions League to get you ready for World Cups, there’s only things you can gain from that.

“I think performances stand for themselves and I believe I can get the No.1 spot playing at Stoke. I believe that. If I didn’t, I would be silly but I believe it comes down to performances.

“If I keep knocking on the door, you shouldn’t discriminate against a club. I’m at Stoke, I’m enjoying it, it’s not my fault and I shouldn’t be discriminated against just because who I play for.”


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