SPL

Philippe Clement backs Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland for England recall

By Sports Desk February 27, 2024

Philippe Clement would welcome an England recall for Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland but knows Gareth Southgate needs to make that decision.

A Sky Sports report claimed the 30-year-old, who won the last of his nine caps in September 2018, is in contention for the Brazil and Belgium friendlies at Wembley in March ahead of the 2024 European Championships this summer.

Ahead of the cinch Premiership trip to Kilmarnock on Wednesday night – where Gers boss Clement revealed striker Kemar Roofe will not be considered because of the artificial surface – the Belgian said of the Butland report: “I would love that he would be there because he deserves, he is ready in that way.

“If he deserves enough, that is the decision of Southgate of course.

“He (Butland) has been really good for the team although he has had less to do in the last couple of weeks.

“But he keeps the same concentration, the same seriousness and he is important in the dressing room and in training, and he is going to be important in the next couple of weeks and months because we have a lot of games to go and a lot of important games where you need players with personality.”

Derek McInnes’ side have gone unbeaten in seven games in all competitions since losing 3-1 at Ibrox on January 2 and sit in fourth place.

Clement’s team are two points clear of Celtic at the top of the table but he is wary of the Ayrshire side’s form and their artificial surface providing a potential double-whammy to their title challenge.

He said: “It is a difficult challenge and we will approach the game with respect for the opponent but also respect for ourselves, to play our own game although you need to adapt to a totally different kind of football because of the pitch.

“I made the comparison with tennis. Playing at Wimbledon or on a clay court.

“It is a little bit like that, of course a different sport but the ball goes faster (on artificial turf) so you need to be a little bit more precise.

“On a grass pitch when you give a pass it slows down after a while. On artificial, it keeps its speed or goes even faster along the way.

“The ball bounces in a totally different way, also the way of turning, sprinting, stopping – a lot of things that are different but it is what it is.

“It is not easy but we did it before at Livingston and we need to do it again.

“The most important thing is getting three points but it will be a totally different game.

“We are going to go there with full focus but we know it is one of those dangerous moments, it can be a bump on the road.”

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