Stoke City keeper Jack Butland set for England recall against Lithuania

7 October 2017, 15:56

Jack Butland is in line for an England recall as manager Gareth Southgate tweaks his starting line-up for the final World Cup qualifier, against Lithuania.

Southgate's men secured their place in Russia with Thursday night's 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley and complete their qualification schedule in Lithuania on Sunday.

England follow that game with friendly matches against Germany and Brazil in November, and Southgate will begin to examine some of his squad options in that trio of fixtures, starting with a run-out for Stoke goalkeeper Butland.

"I've said all along that we have great competition for places," said Southgate. "This is an extra game for us to have a look at a few different things.

"I think Joe's performance the other night was excellent, not just by making important saves but also his decision-making and his management of the game were excellent.

"Clearly we've also got other good goalkeepers in the squad and tomorrow is a great opportunity for Jack (Butland) to play.

"He's been patient for his opportunity, his form is good and we want that competition for places. It's a good opportunity tomorrow to start that but we want to get the balance right."

Butland featured for England in the friendly defeat to France in June, playing the second half after coming on as a substitute for Tom Heaton.

It was a poignant return to international football for a player who suffered a long-term ankle injury while with England in March 2016.

Butland is also pleased to be renewing his rivalry - and friendship - with Joe Hart, who has been England's main goalkeeper throughout qualifying.

"There's good competition between all of us, we're all after the same shirt," he said. "There's a brilliant rivalry there but also a great friendship.

"Joe made some great saves for us the other night and he put in a really good performance, which is what we all want."

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