Stoke signs goalkeeper Jack Butland to contract extension

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Premier League club Stoke City has locked down one of its brightest young starts until 2019, as 22-year-old goalkeeper Jack Butland has signed on for the next four years, the club announced.

The news of his extension comes on the same day that England manager Roy Hodgson told media that Butland is his third-choice goalkeeper for the upcoming friendlies behind Joe Hart and Fraser Forster.

“He’s a player that Mark Hughes holds in very high regard and Roy Hodgson’s decision underlines his standing in the English game,” Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes said in the club announcement. “Jack is a very ambitious young man and wants to play first team football on a regular basis for Stoke City.  There’s genuine competition for the goalkeeping spot at the Club with Asmir Begovic, Jack and Thomas Sorensen and Jack has made no secret of his desire to be our No. 1.”

Butland has long been touted as a top goalkeeping talent in England, but has never truly broken through into the first team at Stoke since transferring from Birmingham City in 2013. He’s spent much of his time on loan, including at Derby County in the first half of this season, making six appearances in the Championship. The Bristol-born keeper has been back at his parent club since late November and hasn’t appeared in the Premier League since.

He’s been on the cusp of the English first-team as well, owning 27 U-21 appearances (good for eighth all-time on the U-21 team) and a single senior cap coming back in 2012. So far he’s held off Fulham’s Marcus Bettinelli and Watford’s Jonathan Bond to hold down the starting spot for the English U-21 team, and appears to be the first-choice for England’s team in the U-21 European Championships this summer in the Czech Republic.