With Jack Butland looking set to return, is it fair to put him straight in the team? Has Mark Hughes got a major dilemma on his hands?
Either way, Hughes has made it clear. Butland isn’t guaranteed his starting spot at Stoke City right away. So maybe it’s not so straight forward…
Lee Grant knows the score
Grant joined Stoke City on loan knowing he was going to be something of a bit-part player. He has in some way fulfilled that role. It is looking like he may stepping down when Jack returns
Hughes spoke to BBC Sport saying, “He [Grant] understood the circumstances that he was coming into, but he has stood up to the challenge and has exceeded everybody’s expectations”. Which he has done, conceding only four during a six-game unbeaten run
With that in mind, Grant has shown he can mix it with the big boys. Mourinho was recorded as saying Grant was excellent against Manchester United.
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Hughes himself has often approved of the job the veteran has done since arriving.
At 33 years of age, Grant will no doubt be trying to take the opportunity with both hands. Given his age, and the fact his loan runs out in January, may mean he sees a few more games going through the festive period.
When is Jack Butland back for Stoke City?
There has been a lot of mixed reports with regards to his return date. Hughes was also telling BBC Sport that: “First and foremost, we need to get [Jack] fully fit and back to the level he was at last season. That is the only thing that we are thinking about.”
A fair point. The last thing we want to see is Butland come back too early and crumble while Grant heads back to Derby.
Well it really is quite simple.
Butland needs to return to training with the senior squad firstly. In the meantime, give Grant the return he deserves.
Loanees have always been scapegoated as ‘not needing to care’. Grant certainly has. I think Hughes and the club need to return his loyalty until Butland is 100% fit.
If it means extending his loan, then so be it…