Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Hughes has confidence in Butland

Jack Butland has been sent out on loan

Stoke boss Mark Hughes is convinced goalkeeper Jack Butland has what it takes to reach the top despite shipping him off on loan to Sky Bet Championship strugglers Barnsley.

Butland has failed to figure at the Britannia Stadium this season and Hughes believes the 20-year-old's development will be better served by a three-month spell of guaranteed first-team action.

Hughes said: "It was always our intention to get Jack Butland out on loan.

"It was vitally important to get him out to allow him to continue his development. He is an outstanding young talent and someone we have incredibly high hopes for.

"We will keep a close eye on him and he will come here on certain days to maintain the work he has been doing with us.

"It is a good move for him and he will learn a lot from it. He has the potential to be the next England keeper."

Asmir Begovic will keep his place in goal for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich with Hughes giving short shrift to Spanish media reports that he is wanted by Atletico Madrid and Napoli.

Hughes added: "It doesn't surprise me to see Asmir Begovic's name linked with other clubs because he is an outstanding goalkeeper. I don't know how much of it is just speculation though."

Hughes was delighted with the way his side bounced back from last week's disappointing defeat at Arsenal with a midweek Capital One Cup win at Tranmere.

And he believes victory over the struggling Canaries will constitute a fine start to the season for his side who were widely tipped to struggle this season following the departure of Tony Pulis.

Hughes added: "We played very well against Arsenal. To go there and perform to the level we did was very encouraging for us.

"We picked ourselves up and performed well at Tranmere too. We are improving and the lads are playing in a confident manner. We will get better though, there is no doubt about that.

"This is a big fixture for us. We have had a very difficult start to the season, so to have the points that we have on the board already is pleasing. Three more on Sunday would ensure a very good start for us."

Hughes has a doubt over Matthew Etherington who suffered whiplash in a traffic incident on Friday morning, but he is confident the midfielder will recover in time to line up on Sunday.

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