Why Jack Butland Deserves to be in England’s Euro 2024 Squad

The March international break has just concluded with England losing to Brazil 1-0 and having to rely on Jude Bellingham scoring in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw against Belgium. Jordan Pickford did not cover himself in glory as his poor attempt of a pass led to the Belgians taking advantage and opening the scoring through Youri Tielemans who got a brace against the Everton stopper on the night.


It was widely reported that Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland, who has nine caps to his name, was set to be called up by Gareth Southgate for the first time since September 2018, but he surprisingly missed out. Crystal Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone dropped out of the squad and Butland was overlooked again by the England manager as Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford got the nod instead. 


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Aaron Ramsdale, who has only played one Premier League game since losing his number-one spot to David Raya in September, was also called up ahead of Butland. Nick Pope has been injured since December and it’s a possibility that he won’t be back playing for Newcastle until late April. It beggars the question – what more does Butland need to do to get back in the England set-up?


The 31-year-old is having the season of his life for the Light Blues as he’s kept 23 clean sheets in all competitions so far and has made jaw-dropping saves domestically and on the European stage with arguably his best display coming against Benfica in the 2-2 draw in Lisbon. The former Stoke City man has started every league game for the Ibrox club with a save percentage of 78% which is higher than the goalkeepers that Southgate has called up to the squad this season. 


Critics will say that Butland is playing in a league that doesn’t have top-quality teams in it compared to the English Premier League, which is true of course. However, Tottenham goalkeeper Fraser Forster received his first cap for England in 2013 whilst he was playing for Celtic in what was not a competitive league at the time as Rangers weren’t in it. 


So there’s no reason why Butland can’t get called up like Forster did. He’s been consistently impressive all season and is one of the main reasons why Rangers are back in the SPFL title race and were able to qualify for the Europa League last 16.  Speaking to TNT Sports after Rangers went out of the Europa League losing to Benfica 3-2 on aggregate, Butland addressed Southgate’s decision to snub him for the friendlies against Brazil and Belgium, stating: “There were no discussions. If your name is being chucked in there, you are doing something right.


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“For me, when I found out I wasn’t in the squad it was just back to normal and continuing what I have been doing here. That’s the only reason I have been in that discussion in the first place – by playing well for Rangers. The minute that went out, all eyes were on this game. Could I? Should I? It doesn’t really matter. I have worked hard enough and done enough, but there are three fantastic goalkeepers going. I’ll just keep knocking on the door and see what happens.”


Southgate has been criticised for having his favourites by picking the likes of Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Harry Maguire and Aaron Ramsdale who have not been performing at club level ahead of players that are in-form and deserve to be in the squad – Butland being one of them. At 31 years of age, he is reaping the rewards from his decision to leave England for the first time in his career and make the move to Ibrox, where he has played a crucial role between the sticks for a Rangers side that is looking to end Celtic’s run of two straight Scottish Premiership titles.


It remains to be seen whether or not Butland will be included in England’s Euro 2024 preliminary squad, which will be announced on May 21, but one thing’s for sure: he’s done more than enough to be included in the Three Lions’ roster and get the call-up to Germany. He has already won the first club trophy of his career, leading Rangers to a 1-0 victory against Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup Final, and he has a golden opportunity to add to his trophy cabinet with Philippe Clement’s side vying for silverware in the Scottish Cup and the league.


By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images