Jack Butland has set his sights on being England ’s No1 after admitting he feared his career was over.
Butland, 24 , was out for 13 months after an ankle injury turned into a nightmare which saw him undergo three operations before eventually returning.
The Stoke City keeper is now back to full fitness and is seen as a long term successor to current first-choice Joe Hart, especially as he has come through the ranks with Gareth Southgate.
But Butland confesses that he began to fear the worst when he could not get back to fitness following the injury suffered in England’s friendly in Germany in March 2016.
Butland said: “Being out for so long makes you stronger.
“Sometimes you reach your lowest point — times when you don’t know if you are going to play again, when the next operation or injection might be.
“So there are times when you are at rock bottom but that’s when you need the people around you – your club, your fans, everything from little tweets on social media just to give you that bit of reassurance, that positivity.
“I feel like I’ve pretty much experienced everything I can in football. Positive things, winning, losing, the injury side of it all the setbacks, so yeah. I’m sure there’s plenty more to experience but I’m prepared for whatever is next.
“It feels extremely, extremely good to be back.
“It’s been a long time and to get the Three Lions back on my chest after some difficult times is really good and I’m just thoroughly enjoying being back and looking forward to the week ahead.
“The worst thing about being injured is just missing out on what you love. Missing out on being part of a team. It can be a lonely place when you are injured.
“You miss being out there with your team mates and just experiencing the highs and the lows. It was the drive and belief of wanting to get back to where I was that kept me going.
“I wanted to make up for all the lost time – missing out on the Euros and missing so many Premier League games.”
Butland, who has won four caps, came through with Southgate with the Under-21s and hopes that he can follow that path into the seniors.
He makes no apologies for wanting to be No1 but insists that helping England be successful is his first goal.
Butland said: “We all have team goals, individual goals. I want to be not just the best I can be but I want to be the best in the world, I want to play with the best in the world. I want to look back on my career and have won things and be in successful teams.
“I have no greater desire than to dream about regularly winning things — Euro Championships and World Cups — with England, as any young player. If you can be part of something that can achieve that, it’s the ultimate. It certainly is with me.”
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