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Stoke City star Jack Butland set to miss out to Joe Hart

A place on the bench seems likely against Malta

Jack Butland looks set to miss out on a first World Cup qualifying appearance for England in Malta tomorrow night.

The Stoke City keeper had been widely regarded as a probable starter after returning impressively from last year’s broken ankle.

But Joe Hart, despite his patchy form over the same period and the loss of 10 goals in his first three games for West Ham, appears to have got the nod for his 72nd cap according to several reports leaking out of the England camp.

And manager Gareth Southgate has previously hinted that whichever goalkeeper plays against Malta will, barring an unforeseen disaster against the minnows, also start in next Monday’s qualifier against Slovakia at Wembley.

The news will come as a blow to Butland and his many supporters as this appeared to be the moment for the 24 year-old to be handed his chance to become long-term number one.

Butland was out for a year after fracturing his ankle playing for England in a friendly in Germany in March last year.

He returned without mishap for Stoke’s last five games of last season, keeping two clean sheets, and was then recalled by Southgate to play the second half of June’s friendly against France in Paris.

Butland has since done nothing to blot his copybook between the sticks for Stoke, conceding two in their first three Premier League games and looking as safe as houses when Southgate saw him keep a clean sheet against Arsenal 12 days ago.


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