Jack Butland says England U21s are 'ready to go' in Euros

Wednesday 03 Jun 2015
Butland is looking forward to the start of the Euros this month
England Under-21s captain Jack Butland says the squad are “ready to go” for the Euro Finals after meeting up at St. George’s Park this week.

Gareth Southgate named his final 23-man group for this summer’s tournament in Czech Republic on Tuesday and Butland was among the initial 19 players to report.

UEFA European U21 Championship

The Finals
17-30 June 2015
Group A: Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Serbia
Group B: England, Italy, Portugal, Sweden
Venues: Uherske Hradiste & Prague, Czech Republic

And with the first group game against Portugal just over two weeks away, the Stoke City goalkeeper and his team-mates cannot wait to get into action.

"We’re ready to go," said Butland. 

"It’s been a long campaign and we’ve had a lot of success and good times together along the way. 

"It seems a long time since our last qualifying game in October, so now everyone’s here and really excited to be together and cracking on in a great tournament."

The Three Lions will also face Italy and Sweden in their Group B fixtures at the Euros and with preparations for the competition under way, the players are already working on the different sort of opposition styles they can expect to come up against.

But the former Birmingham City stopper believes there is more than enough talent in Southgate’s squad to deal with what they might come up against.

"All three of our group games are going to be completely different," he explained.

"We know the way we want to play, but we’ll face three styles of play in that group stage and it’s about preparing properly and understanding what you’re going to face to be able to break them down. 

"Firstly, we’ll get our defensive duties right and we’ve been fantastic at that over the last two years so once we get that right, it allows us to express ourselves going the other way.

"The same 11 won’t play every game, and there’ll be knocks that players might pick up, so the manager will rest and rotate. 

"But we’ve got the squad and ability to do that and that’s what tournament football is all about, taking each game as it comes and keeping fit and ready for the challenge.

"It [the competition] finishes really quickly, from the first game to the final, so you’ve got to manage yourselves correctly and keep calm and believing you can win it."

England head out to their Czech base in Olomouc three days after their final send-off game against Belarus in Barnsley on Thursday 11 June.

And that is a game which Butland is looking forward to, after spending three valuable months on loan at Oakwell back in 2013.

"I’ve been fortunate enough to play in a lot of games up to this stage in my career, whether that’s playing for the club where I’ve been or going out on loan,” he added, reflecting on his spell helping the Tykes battle against relegation from the Championship.

England Under-21s goalkeeper Jack Butland trains ahead of the trip to Lithuania.

Jack Butland will captain the U21s in the Euro Finals

"It’s important as a keeper that you get games and it was an extremely good experience for me at Barnsley. 

"As bad as it was in terms of results that year, it was tough mentally and that made me stronger and it also meant I was able to get a lot of work and was able to express myself. 

"So it played a massive part in my development, along with my other loan spells. 

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time there with the players and the fans were fantastic and very supportive towards me. 

"It will be great to go back and put on a good show for them."

Tickets for the game at Oakwell are on sale now, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call 0871 2266777 or e-mail boxoffice@barnsleyfc.co.uk for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park