Name: Jack Butland
After the sales of midfield enforcer Steven N’Zonzi to Sevilla and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Chelsea, Stoke fans would have been slightly worried about their usually sturdy defence losing some of its steel.
But the Potters fans did not have to fret at all, for Begovic’s replacement was already at the club. Jack Butland has stepped up after years of loan spells and learning his trade from the Bosnian, and in some style.
The former Birmingham City stopper is joint-third in the Premier League in terms of clean sheets, matching the likes of David De Gea and Hugo Lloris with an impressive nine shutouts, with that figure only being surpassed by Arsenal’s Petr Cech (12) and Joe Hart (11) of Manchester City.
Even with N’Zonzi and Begovic’s departure, the Potters have actually conceded two less goals than they did at the same stage last season, with their 32 goals against being inflated somewhat by three 3-0 defeats in their last four Premier League games.
Butland has now forced his way into England reckoning once more, and should be on the plane to France for the Euros this summer if he stays injury free; a deserved winner of Stoke’s BRIT award.