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Butland eyes England's top spot

Jack Butland is intent on unseating Joe Hart as England's number one and hopes to become England's youngest goalkeeper against Italy this Wednesday on his full international debut.

Butland is in contention with Norwich's John Ruddy to play in the international friendly in Berne. If he takes to the pitch, the Birmingham goalkeeper will replace Billy Moon of Old Westminsters and Corinthians as England's youngest shotstopper.

The 19-year-old was a late inclusion in Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012 and was Team GB's keeper during the Olympic Games. Now Butland is keen to push Hart - absent from the clash against Italy with a back injury - as quickly as possible.

"Joe is a fantastic keeper and I want to challenge him as soon as I can. Being number one for England is something I've always dreamed of doing. Joe is in there at the moment and only one can play.

"My target for the coming years is to be the biggest challenge I possibly can and stay in this squad for as long as possible because this is where I want to be for the foreseeable future. I want to challenge him as soon as I possibly can.

"We've had the conversation already because there is nothing better than playing games. Throughout the years it's going to be a balance. Will I go on trips with the senior team and then which games will I play for the under-21s?

"I know I have to play. As fantastic an experience as it is to come away with the senior squad there is no better way to learn than play games. I know that situation and everyone does. There will be a lot of communication with Stuart Pearce about getting the best of both."

After embracing the Olympics and the Team GB ethic, Butland is determined to keep his feet on the ground after his rapid rise in professional football.

"Things have happened so quickly for me and I'm thankful for the family I have," Butland said. "They are very grounded and keep my feet on the ground.

"They make sure I don't get ahead of myself, which is something I hate to see in players. The term 'big time', I hate to see that.

"That is something I am trying to avoid myself, I don't think I will have trouble doing that. I just think it's the borderline between confidence and arrogance really.

"Any professional needs to be confident in your own ability and what you can achieve, but there's a line between that and arrogance which not a lot of people step over. But it's a very careful line because it can taint people's views of you and, once you've lost that, it can be very difficult to get it back."


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