Goalkeeper Jack Butland says being at bottom side Barnsley will be more likely to take him to next year's World Cup in Brazil than if he was at a higher-placed Championship club.
Butland has one cap for England but was not in Roy Hodgson's squad when they qualified for Brazil this week and was instead captaining the under 21s. He is not expecting to displace Asmir Begovic at parent club Stoke City but hopes to impress at Oakwell until his loan expires on Boxing Day before spending the second half of the season on loan at a Premier League club.
He said: "The target is to get to Brazil. It will be difficult to get there unless I'm playing regularly and playing well. "I had a few options but I came to Barnsley because it's a challenge that will improve me more than any other. I might get more to do than going somewhere higher in the league. "There's more decisions for me to make and more saves for me to make. "It will be much more satisfying to help get this team away from the drop zone in my three months here than it would be to perhaps be around the play-offs. I've enjoyed my time here so far."
Butland is expecting to be put to more use in Barnsley’s coming Championship games than he was for England under 21s this week when he did not face a shot in two matches. The Young Lions gained a 4-0 win in San Marino on Thursday beat Lithuania 5-0 at Ipswich’s Portman Road on Tuesday when his opposite number was former Barnsley academy stopper Lukas Lidakevicius.
Butland told the Chronicle: “I didn’t have a shot to save but I don’t mind that at all. Two clean sheets is something I will take into this weekend. It’s always amazing to go away with your country. It was a proud moment for me to be captain and I hope I will keep the armband. We knew the two sides wouldn’t cause us many problems but we had to be professional.”
Playing in front of Butland in both matches was Penistone lad John Stones who left Oakwell for Everton in January. Butland said: “John is a really nice lad. He works hard, he’s loud and vocal and wants to win but he’s got really good ability as well. He’s an important part of our side. Hopefully he can get a few more minutes for Everton. It’s great for Barnsley to have players involved.”