Butland handed starting role

07 October 2017 11:19:17 EST
Gareth Southgate has handed a starting spot to goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Jack Butland will start in goal for England when they complete their successful World Cup qualifying campaign away to Lithuania on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Stoke City goalkeeper will earn a sixth senior cap, with Butland handed a chance by head coach Gareth Southgate after qualification for the finals in Russia next summer was confirmed with a 1-0 home win over Slovenia.

This is a game where we want to give a strong performance and win.

Gareth Southgate

West Ham loanee Joe Hart was the starter in that game, but Southgate is keen to see what some of his back-up options can do, meaning that Butland gains a chance to impress, with Fraser Forster and Jordan Pickford the other keepers in the current Three Lions squad.

Southgate told reporters: "This is a great opportunity for Jack to play. He's been patient for his opportunity and his form is good.

"We've got great competition for places and we've got other good goalkeepers.

"I think Joe's performance the other night was excellent, not only did he make important saves, but also his decision-making and distribution. His management of the game was excellent.

"Jack was my captain at under-21 level. He's an outstanding personality, a strong leader, so why don't we use those qualities?"

Southgate hinted at several other changes to his starting line-up, while also confirming that he is keen to end the qualifying campaign with another victory.

He added: "For sure we'll make changes, but we want to get the balance right.

"It is a results business, but the way I want to play is to entertain as well. This is a game where we want to give a strong performance and win."

England, who have won all three of their previous meetings with Lithuania without conceding a goal, are 1/4 to take all three points on Sunday, with a 2-0 win for the visitors priced at 9/2, while the Three Lions are 4/7 to keep a clean sheet.

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