Butland ready to face the best
August 3, 2012 14:13 pm
Great Britain goalkeeper Jack Butland cannot envisage a time when he would "engineer" a result to secure a favourable draw as a footballer.
It never crossed Butland's mind not to make the late save from Luis Suarez in Cardiff on Wednesday that secured Britain's victory over Uruguay. If Suarez had scored, Britain would not now be preparing for a quarter-final tussle with South Korea at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday knowing hot favourites Brazil will almost certainly await the winners.
On paper at least, the other half of the draw looks negotiable. Indeed, Senegal, who finished behind Britain in Group A, are now fancied to reach the Wembley final on August 11. There is no question of Butland regretting that save though. He said: "It would never come down to manufacturing a different result to get in a different half of the draw. That would never happen."
The Birmingham City stopper added: "It doesn't matter whether it is the final or semi, we are going to have to play Brazil if we want to win the competition because I don't expect them to get knocked out."
Besides, Butland has a growing reputation to maintain, and Brazil are the perfect opponents to test it.
Twelve months ago, the 19-year-old was preparing to embark on the first of two spells on loan with Cheltenham. When the domestic campaign ended his only senior action was with the Whaddon Road outfit.
But positive reports from England's goalkeeping coach Dave Watson propelled Butland into Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad when previous third choice John Ruddy was forced to pull out with a broken finger.
That experience from Poland and Ukraine banked, Butland then demanded he was released for Olympic duty, even though the Football Association previously stated no player would be asked to do both.
So Butland has found himself turning out in front of massive crowds at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium over the past week, and taking it all in his stride.
"I thrive on pressure," he said. "I love big games. All I have wanted to do since I started was play for England and win tournaments."
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