England boss Roy Hodgson has revealed it was always in his mind to draft Norwich City keeper John Ruddy straight back into his squad for this week’s friendly against Italy in Switzerland.

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The 25-year-old is poised for his international debut tomorrow, with first choice Joe Hart ruled out of the trip to Berne with a back injury that forced him to miss Manchester City’s weekend Community Shield win over Chelsea at Villa Park.

Ruddy’s own injury nightmare wrecked his summer bid to be involved in England’s European Championship campaign, but Hodgson was keen to bring him back into the fold as part of an experimental squad that also features Team GB teenage stopper Jack Butland.

“It was a great advantage to me that we have this game so close to the Euros finishing that we can invite John back and he can come and work with us,” said Hodgson.

“Jack has been on constant duty really with England and Team GB, but I certainly wanted him to be involved as well in the training environment.

“It was always our intention in this squad to give some of our younger players with potential a chance and to get themselves known by the new England manager and coaching staff, but there is also a good balance with a lot of players who would have been in the Euros were it not for injury and lads like Michael Carrick have come back into the group.”

Hodgson has had to defend the timing of the friendly, with the Premier League kick-off only three days away.

“It’s not just important for England, but the other 79 nations who are in action also on that evening,” he told the FA website.

“There are very, very few teams that don’t play in that August 15 fixture. It is not unusual that we would want to play at that time and I think being able to give one or two senior players a rest who did well in the summer and whose position in the squad is in no doubt whatsoever gives a chance for the new ones to stake a claim and show me that I should be considering them.

“I understand club managers who would prefer no matches on this occasion, but unfortunately it is a Fifa date and we, like every other nation, are obliged to play it.”

Meanwhile, Ruddy’s rival for a start against the Italians, Butland, said yesterday it would be a “dream come true” to make his senior debut in Hart’s absence.

The highly-rated youngster has yet to make a competitive appearance for his parent club Birmingham after spending last season on loan at League Two Cheltenham.

The 19-year-old was called up to the European Championship squad after Ruddy suffered a broken finger.

“It’s what dreams are made of,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s come, or hopefully will come, due to an injury, which is unfortunate for Joe, but if I get the chance it will be a dream come true. It’s something I can’t stop thinking about and I’d love the chance to be able to perform on that stage on Wednesday night.

“I think it’s very important, I’m not going to try and put too much pressure on myself or expect anything because there’s not a lot of goalkeepers who get the chance at such a young age so I’m very privileged to be in this position.

“I’m going to take everything in my stride. If it doesn’t happen on Wednesday I’m going to work harder to make it happen on a different occasion.”

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