Jack Butland targets senior squad in time for 2014 World Cup

Keeper confident he can become latest Under-21 product to break into Hodgson's senior side

Netanya

It was an early night ahead of yesterday's first training session here for the England Under-21 squad, which meant missing the climax of the senior team's televised draw in Brazil. The game did not finish until just before midnight local time, and Jack Butland caught Wayne Rooney's goal just as he was heading to bed. The 80 minutes the Stoke City goalkeeper managed, however, only increased his desire to be in Brazil himself at the World Cup finals next summer.

The Under-21 squad has become an increasingly useful stepping stone on the way, with 10 of the group who represented England at the last tournament two years ago now boasting a full cap. Having Stuart Pearce working with both squads, as he did under Fabio Capello, helped the process and Butland and others must hope that promotion continues to work in the same way. Watching Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Rodwell – both still eligible for the Under-21s – come on as substitutes in Rio helped convince Butland it will.

"They got there through their performances for the their club but most importantly their performances for the Under-21s," he said. "The way Jack and Alex came on is only more motivation for us that we can get there, it's an inspiration. That's what we're all striving to achieve."

Butland, who agreed to join Stoke in January but stayed on loan at Birmingham, has already had senior recognition, having been given a first cap against Italy at Wembley last August. An ambitious as well as confident and eloquent 20-year-old, he believes that he is capable of playing plenty of Premier League football next season and ending it as one of England's top three goalkeepers.

"If I didn't think that, there would be no point," he said. "I'm not going to stand here and think three places are taken and just give up. I've got to prove that I'm good enough to go. I feel really good in this squad and I feel part of it. But this is the step to the next level and I feel very confident that if I get the opportunity to have a good tournament, and then a good season next year, then who knows? That's the target, to go to Rio."

Meanwhile there is a tournament to play, starting against Italy tomorrow. Pearce's team reached it by coming through a turbulent play-off in Serbia, where they suffered sticks and stones as well as racist name-calling during a commendable 1-0 victory. "There was all sorts [being thrown], from seats to what they were supposed to be eating," Butland recalled. "In the first half there were coins and other stuff. There were little stones, then towards the end a couple of rocks. That just gave us more drive in a difficult scenario to go on and win the game."

If not exactly the sort of character-building exercise that even "Psycho" Pearce would recommend, Butland said that it was useful in binding a close-knit squad even more firmly together. "We showed no matter what situation we are put in that we can handle it. What we were put through was an extreme test. You could feel in the dressing room that we had got through an extremely difficult scenario. When things got out of hand we handled it very well. After the game you could see that it made us all stronger and brought us all closer together."

The one negative is that as a result of altercations at the final whistle, Danny Rose and Tom Ince are suspended from the Italy game. A week after helping his former club Crystal Palace achieve promotion via the play-offs, Wilfried Zaha sat out training yesterday at the squad's base 20 miles north of Tel Aviv with an ankle injury and is by no means certain to start, although Pearce claimed: "He shouldn't be a doubt. He's obviously played a really full season. The plan was to do the warm-up and then work with the physios. We'll have another look at him and see where he is with regards to his fitness."

The only other strikers in the party are Connor Wickham and Marvin Sordell, neither of whom have been prolific this season, although in the Under-21s' remarkable run of nine straight wins, midfielders and even defenders have chipped in with goals.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York