Why Rangers’ Jack Butland was overlooked for England

Why Rangers’ Jack Butland was overlooked for England
England Euro s Squad Annoucement File photo dated 14-10-2020 of England manager Gareth Southgate. Issue date: Tuesday May 25, 2021. FILE PHOTO Use subject to FA restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the FA. No editing except cropping. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xNickxPottsx 60005772

As much as Ibrox Noise ‘got it wrong’, as much as Sky Sources and everyone else ‘got it wrong’ about Jack Butland getting the call-up to England, while fan reaction is of course emotional and in places very angry about Gareth Southgate overlooking Rangers’ in-form goalkeeper in favour of the unfavoured Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale, it really isn’t a surprise.

In truth, despite all our sources telling us he was getting the nod, all the press claims saying the same thing, not one of us on Ibrox Noise ever truly believed Gareth Southgate was actually going to go with our man.

Danny Murphy was absolutely correct, when a few days ago he said there was a low chance of Southgate picking Butland:

“He would deserve it because he’s been playing well, but I don’t think he’ll go. Southgate has picked Sam Johnstone ahead of him more recently, who is a good keeper for Crystal Palace, having regained his place. I think he’ll also take Ramsdale. Ramsdale is arguably the second-best with his feet out of the England keepers.”

But he contradicted himself a touch with his previous comments:

“Butland is certainly in the conversation. These games coming up in Europe for Rangers is a great chance for Gareth to watch him in high-profile games against good opposition where he’ll be tested. I’m a big fan of Ramsdale but I’d go for the three who are playing – Pickford, Johnstone and Butland. Without [Newcastle keeper] Nick Pope, it’s two from three really – Ramsdale, Butland and Sam Johnstone. I’d say Sam Johnstone is probably the number two.”

Sort of.

What is clear from Southgate’s decisions is you have to be in the Premier League. If you’re not in the Premier League you must be in a marquee league like Spain (Trippier in his Madrid days and Bellingham) or Germany (Kane).

Any player in the Scottish Premiership is a no. It’s that simple.

It is simply deemed that the competition level is just too low – and we absolutely agree.

Butland is shining for Rangers, but if we try to pretend the SPL is even close to the Championship never mind the PL we’re deluding ourselves.

You might mention the Europa League but the Premier League is a lot stronger than the Europa League, and there’s a reason the PL sides dominate the Champions League year-on-year and Liverpool are barely out of first gear in the Europa League yet slapping its best teams sideways.

Point is, Butland is a top goalie, but he will have to go back to the Premier League to prove himself at that level.

Ramsdale might not be playing, but few would argue he’s not a good PL goalie. And Southgate wants PL.

He doesn’t want SPFL.

There’s a good reason no English players have been called up from the SPL aside Forster in the best part of 20 years. Except Butland and Celtic’s ex-keeper there’s no one good enough in two decades to deserve the nod north of the border.

But even any that are just won’t cut it because they’re playing what England deem an ‘exhibition’ level.

They need to be in the PL and that’s now clear to Butland.

Hopefully his club ambitions outweight his international ones.

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