Stoke City’s own Jack Butland suffered a broken finger and will miss between four to six weeks. Should the fans be worried?
It’s as if Butland is cursed.
The English goalkeeper suffered another injury during his international stints. He has reportedly broken his finger during training sessions prior to matches against Germany and Brazil.
Last injury Butland sustained also involved the World Champions. Butland injured his ankle during a friendly against the Germans and was out for over a year.
If that time period will tell us anything, Stoke City should be fine in front of the net. Lee Grant was exceptional during the time that Butland was out. The grizzled vet only allowed 34 goals in 28 games, an exceptional record for a mid-table side like the Potters. Moreover, he was allowed to parry away 72.8% of the shots he faced and made no errors leading to shots or goal. His valiant efforts awarded the 34-year old goalkeeper with the Stoke Player of the Season award.
Grant attracted a lot of suitors, and deservedly so after his performances in place of Butland. However, Mark Hughes made it clear that he intended to keep two high-level goalies in the team, like many other Premier League contenders.
Despite Grant’s brilliance, it is hard not to worry about what the future holds for Butland.
The Englishman is still only 24-years old. It is no doubt that he will continue to feature in the national team and battle for the starting job with Joe Hart and Jordan Pickford for years to come. However, this is a second long-term injury that Butland sustained in last two years, with the former keeping him sidelined for the whole season.
It is no question that Butland is a phenomenal talent and a start in the making. However, it is fair to begin to wonder if this will be the theme of his career. Granted, the injury is not in the same body part and the injury he recently sustained is a rather mild one. Many fans have seen young, bright prospects quickly fade away due to injuries.
The biggest concern I have is Butland’s confidence. Especially seeing Grant perform so well, especially seeing Pickford grow and improve, what kind of impact will these injuries have on him mentally? Will he be a little bit more hesitant going out? Will he shy away from contact?
In the end, Lee Grant is just a stopgap, no matter how well he plays. The veteran is nearing the age of 35, and cannot keep that level of play forever. Butland is a clear heir to the throne, for both Stoke City and English national squad. However, it is not far-fetched to worry about what kind of effects these continuous injuries can have on young man’s career.