Clark bigs up Butland

Blues boss looking forward to working with promising keeper

Jack Butland: Birmingham have no plans to part with the highly-rated shot-stopper

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New Birmingham City boss Lee Clark is looking forward to working with Jack Butland, a goalkeeper he considers to be among the finest in England.

Clark has inherited the managerial reins at St Andrew's from Chris Hughton, following his decision to link up with Norwich City in the Premier League.

He has already announced that it is his intention to guide the Blues back to the Premier League by playing attractive football.

Among those at his disposal next season will be promising shot-stopper Butland.

The 19-year-old was drafted into England's Euro 2012 squad as Roy Hodgson found himself short on keeping options, with his potential noted by the national coach.


Butland's rise to prominence has seen him linked with a big-money move away from Birmingham, despite being yet to make his senior debut for the club - with Southampton reported to have seen one approach knocked back.

Clark, though, is determined to retain the youngster's services, with it possible that he could soon be the undisputed number one for club and country.

"I've seen enough to believe Jack can push Joe Hart all the way to be No.1 for England," Clark said in the Birmingham Mail.

"I know Jack very well because I had a young player on loan at Cheltenham last season and I went to watch them on numerous occasions.

"I know what his capabilities are and Jack has got a big part to play in the future of this football club."

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He added: "They're always in the shop window. It depends how good they are.

"I can easily go and sign loads of mediocre players, poor players who nobody wants and then not worry about selling them. But we wouldn't get much progress on the pitch."

Clark claims he will also have no qualms about sending Butland away for a second major international tournament this summer, with Stuart Pearce expected to name him in his Team GB squad for the 2012 Olympics.

He said: "The Olympics, it's great kudos for the club, it's great for the lad to have that opportunity to compete in such a fantastic arena. You can never stop that for a young player.

"We are all delighted and proud for Jack. Hopefully he has a successful time and then comes back to us because he will be super-confident."