Butland willing to bide his time for England

Jack Butland feels it is important he continues to take things step by step with his career - starting with playing for England Under-21s at this summer's European Championship.

Football News: Jack Butland, England

Much has happened to the goalkeeper over the past year, with him being included in the senior Three Lions squad for Euro 2012, making his full England debut in a friendly against Italy in August and also featuring for Great Britain at the London Olympics.

His impressive form then earned him a January transfer from npower Championship side Birmingham to Barclays Premier League outfit Stoke, although Butland returned to the Blues on loan for the rest of the season.

The 20-year-old has spoken about how he has rejected advances from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City because he did not want his development to be hampered by a lack of first-team opportunities.

While ambitious, Butland is wary of making a false move by trying to achieve too much too soon, and despite having now tasted life with the England seniors, he is very much focused on the Young Lions' Euros campaign in Israel in June.

Butland, who has represented his country at various youth levels, told Press Association Sport: "It has been a big development curve in my career this year.

"I am very pleased with everything that has happened - it is something to look back on and be really proud of, with everything that happened last summer and this season.

"I'm really pleased with the opportunities I was given and I'm looking forward to what is next.

"I'm still young, especially as a goalkeeper, and my development has got to be steady - I can't push myself too much too fast.

"I'd like to think I have taken the opportunities I have been given, but I have to be very careful that I don't put too much pressure on myself and that I keep steadily improving as I'm stepping up to the next level.

"It is very important that I don't miss out on any levels and rush things, because that would be bad for my career."

Regarding this summer's tournament in Israel, he added: "My goal is to push for a senior England spot, but that is not going to come without proving it at under-21 level, Championship level and hopefully in the Premier League.

"I know these are landmarks I have to reach before I can truly challenge guys in the senior squad, and the summer is something that I'm really looking forward to.

"It will be a fantastic experience for everyone that goes and hopefully it is a very successful one."

Butland was speaking at St George's Park, where the Under-21s - who are on a record-breaking seven-match winning streak - have been preparing for friendlies against Romania at Wycombe's Adams Park on Thursday and Austria at Brighton's Amex Stadium next Monday.

Blackpool winger Tom Ince and Southampton full-back Luke Shaw were named in the original 28-man squad for the double-header, but have both been ruled out due to injury, while Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos has also dropped out of the group as a precaution.

A number of more experienced players that were last involved at the end of the Euros qualifying campaign have returned after a two-game absence to the squad for the Romania and Austria contests, including Butland, defender Danny Rose and forwards Nathan Delfouneso and Marvin Sordell.

After these fixtures, Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce will name his 23-man party for the summer tournament, which sees England compete in Group A with Italy, Norway and hosts Israel.

The Football Association confirmed on Tuesday that Everton captain Phil Neville will be joining the Young lions coaching staff for the finals.



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