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Butland to spurn England for under-21s

LONDON (AFP) –

Britain's goalkeeper Jack Butland at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on August 1, 2012

Britain’s goalkeeper Jack Butland celebrates winning the London 2012 Olympic Games men’s football match between Great Britain and Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on August 1, 2012. Butland would rather play in this year’s European Under-21 Championships than take part in England‘s summer friendlies.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland would rather play in this year’s European Under-21 Championships than take part in England’s summer friendlies.

The 20-year-old, who signed for Stoke in January but will finish the season with Birmingham, is focused on developing his game.

He rejected the chance to join Chelsea and Manchester City as he sought a club that could offer him first-team football – and he applies the same logic to his international career.

England’s matches against Ireland and Brazil will be big occasions but the chance to be first-choice in Israel is a bigger lure to Butland.

“I want to go with the Under-21s,” he told The Times. “For me, I think it would be a lot more beneficial to my development. Much as I’d love to go to Brazil for the experience my target is to go there 12 months later for the World Cup. “For now I need to get these games under my belt.”

On his brave decision to snub the advances of two of the country’s largest clubs, he added: “I had the chance to speak to Chelsea but I didn’t feel I needed to.

“But I’ve got a chance to join a club where I feel I can better develop my game and take it to the next level.

“I turned Manchester City down about a year ago. Again, I was flattered but Joe Hart is their undisputed number one and he was a main factor.”

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