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Gareth Southgate: 'Jack Butland will struggle to keep spot'

Southgate admits Butland faces battle
© Reuters
England boss Gareth Southgate concedes that it will be difficult for Jack Butland to keep his spot in the squad if the goalkeeper is playing Championship football.

England boss Gareth Southgate has admitted that it will be difficult for Jack Butland to keep his spot in the Three Lions squad if the goalkeeper is playing Championship football.

Butland has been linked with a move away from Stoke City this summer, but the 25-year-old is currently still with the Potters, who were relegated from the Premier League last season.

The stopper has kept his spot for England's upcoming matches against Spain and Switzerland, but Southgate has conceded that Butland "is going to have a challenge to stay in the squad".

"Jack has dropped into the Championship. We feel it is important at this moment to keep faith but he is going to have a challenge to stay in the squad," Southgate told reporters.

"In terms of the pool of players that are playing, it's an area where we'd like more competition ideally. I'm really conscience as England manager, it is not my place to put pressure on players to leave clubs.

"What is obvious is that if you're not playing in the Premier League and six or seven players in your position are playing in the top-flight, it is going to be difficult for you to maintain your place. But I can't rule out players playing in the Championship because our pool is getting smaller."

Butland has made eight appearances for England since his debut in 2012.

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Alex McCarthy in action for Southampton on March 31, 2018
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