Southgate shock change of heart as he watches Rangers’ Butland

Southgate shock change of heart as he watches Rangers’ Butland
England's manager Gareth Southgate reacts during the International friendly football match between England and Belgium at Wembley stadium, in London, on March 26, 2024. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / NOT FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING USE / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Jack Butland, incredibly, may be getting an England reprieve after national manager Gareth Southgate was confirmed as attending Ibrox and watching him against Celtic in the only Scottish Premiership match which is up to the pressure and level of the Premier League.

And having put in a pretty solid shift, aside that opening goal, Butland probably did his chances something of a boost even though he did concede three.

Southgate has to deal with a lot of injuries in the goalkeeping zone, with just one regularly-playing stopper actually in his squad and his realisation starting to hammer home that he can’t go to Germany relying on the mediocre Jordan Pickford alone.

Sam Johnstone is now injured, Nick Pope has been out forever, Aaron Ramsdale doesn’t play, and James Trafford is not up to it.

In short, Southgate’s keeper choices are absolutely horrendous and he’s being ‘forced’ to look at Butland even though he has no interest in Rangers or Scottish football.

Does this mean Butland goes to Germany?

Southgate’s presence at Ibrox suggests he may have had a big, big change of heart over the ex-Stoke goalie, and after his previous options dropped by the wayside, the fact Southgate showed up in Govan to watch Butland is about as big a hint that Butland, against all expectations given the last international break, might actually be getting the call after all.

Southgate’s choices between the sticks are probably the worst in history in that position – Rangers’ Butland is, by some distance, the best he has, and he knows that.

But his reticence to go anywhere near him or Scottish football has put England at a disadvantage because the one half decent option he has wasn’t getting a look in.

That may have changed.

There is one more international break to go, and it now looks like a big change of heart from Southgate about Rangers may just see Butland get his call at long last.

Which would almost certainly finally see a Rangers player outright playing for England for the first time in several generations.

But… given how ‘dead cert’ this has looked before, we refuse to ‘believe’ it’s a sure thing until he’s actually announced for an international camp, be it the final break or the Euros themselves.

Every source got it totally wrong last time.

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