Thursday, 28 June 2012

Birmingham Reject Saints' Butland Bid

It was reported last night that Southampton had a £6,000,000 bid rejected for the young Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland. There has been some ongoing talk in the media of the newly promoted Premier League side wanting the 19-year-old shot stopper who was called up to the England Euro 2012 squad as a third choice goalkeeper to replace the injured John Ruddy. 

Butland has caught the eye of several Premier League clubs in the duration of the last season however Birmingham are desperate to keep him at St. Andrews. Newly-appointed manager Lee Clark said: "I know how good Jack Butland is and I know him well, he can push to be the England number 1, it's a great Kudos for the club for him to be going to the Olympics, we are all proud and hope he comes back super-confident."

He has yet to make his debut for Birmingham after spending last the majority of last season on loan at League Two side Cheltenham Town to gain some first-team football experience. He kept a clean sheet in his first match for The Robins in the 2-0 win over Macclesfield Town in the first of two loan spells where he kept a further six clean sheets in 12 appearances. Butland was shortlisted for the League Two Player of the Month in November however he lost out to Burton Albion's Billy Kee. 

"He can be anything he wants to be in the game. He's a confident lad, plays with a mature head and just takes everything in his stride" - Cheltenham boss Mark Yates

In his second spell at Whaddon Road, Butland added another four clean sheets to his tally however he did have a wobble midway through his loan conceding four goals in the match against Southend United in March. Despite this, Cheltenham manager Mark Yates kept faith in the young 'keeper and managed to see out another successful loan as The Robins made the League Two play-offs. Butland has received plenty of praise from his fellow team-mates including Ben Foster who recently came back from a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion. "Remember the name Jack Butland people", Foster implied. "I've never seen such a frighteningly good young talent in my career. He's got everything and he's only 19.

England goalkeeping coach Dave Watson has played an instrumental part in Butland's development at Birmingham since Butland joined the club as a schoolboy in 2007. Watson has also worked with the likes of Ben Foster, Boaz Myhill and current England number one Joe Hart at the Championship club. In terms of his international career, Butland made his debut for the England under-16s as in October 2008 as he kept a clean sheet in the 6-0 win over Northern Ireland in the Victory Sheild. Standing at 6ft 4in, Butland has played at every age group for his country apart from the seniors including where he won the European under-17 Championships defeating Spain in the final. He was also included in the squad for the 2011 FIFA under-20 World Cup in Colombia where he didn't concede a goal in all of England's group matches. After his performances in South American, Butland made his debut for the under-21s last September in the 6-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan. Southampton have made a big offer for Butland however Birmingham do not see as 'eye-popping' for them to let him go. 

The bid is another example of the ambition that Southampton has in terms of their financial position and to establish themselves in the Premier League. It's difficult to tell whether a second bid will be sent to Birmingham however what we all know is that he has massive potential and is not far away from competing for the England number one jersey.

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