Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Butland: Stoke was the right move

Jack Butland signed for Stoke in January

Jack Butland admits seeing other players lose their way helped in his decision to turn down Chelsea in favour of Stoke.

The highly-rated Birmingham goalkeeper has enjoyed an incredible year, going from a loan spell at npower League Two side Cheltenham to earning his first cap for the England senior team. The 20-year-old also represented Great Britain at London 2012 and impressed a number of top clubs, including Champions League holders Chelsea.

Butland, though, rejected the west Londoners overtures in favour of a move to Stoke, who he will link up with after ending the season with Birmingham. Asked if it was a difficult decision to make, the youngster said: "It was and it wasn't. Chelsea is a fantastic club, it would attract any player and it certainly attracted me."

He added: "It is a fantastic place to play and they are the current Champions League winners. They are the European champions.

"But Stoke are a fantastic club for different reasons and somewhere I feel I can better develop my game at the minute. It is as simple as that.

"Chelsea didn't do anything wrong, I just didn't feel it was the right move for me and felt Stoke was.

"It was a very, very important decision to make about when and where to move. It took a lot of thinking and unfortunately Birmingham were in the position they were.

"I have been there for a long time, learned a lot there. I've had my spells in League Two and my taste of the Championship - but I feel that if I really want to push Joe Hart and the senior keepers for the senior spot then I need to be playing Premier League football.

"I feel capable of doing it and feel capable of doing it with Stoke. It is a very good set-up there.

"The goalie coach is very good and I am very pleased I've made that move and at this time. I am really at ease with the decision and really looking forward to it."