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.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game