Butland has World Cup hopes

Stoke City

Stoke keeper Jack Butland hopes he is back on track for the World Cup - with a little bit of help from Gordon Banks.

The Stoke goalkeeper made a surprise return from a broken finger suffered on England duty last month for Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Swansea.

The injury prevented Butland from playing in England’s friendly against Brazil and furthering his claim to what is the most hotly-contested shirt for next summer’s tournament in Russia.

Joe Hart played instead – while Jordan Pickford and Tom Heaton are also strong contenders – but England’s World Cup-winning keeper Banks voiced his opinion this week that Butland should be first choice.

The pair have become close since Butland took over as Stoke’s number one and have regular chats.

Butland said: “Gordon is amazing. I speak to him every other week nearly. He’s always got my corner. He’s a great person to have on my side.

“He called me after I broke my finger. We don’t have technical chats, we just have a nice chat.

“We’ve had chats about his England career and we’ve spoken about the World Cup back then. But he is really eager to know what it’s like nowadays and what my routine is like.

“I couldn’t really get a word in because he wants to know what we get up to as goalkeepers now in training and everything like that, but maybe next time I can ask him a little bit more about his stuff without him leading the conversation.”