‘Victory’ over close friend at Norwich City pleased brave Stoke City keeper Jack Butland most
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Stoke City hero Jack Butland didn't need long to select his favourite save from a super showing in Norfolk.
The newly-installed Potters number one produced a sensational display to rob Norwich City of a second Premier League victory in three outings. Excellent stops to deny Graham Dorrans (twice), Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond ensured the 1-1 half-time scoreline remained until the final whistle on Saturday. But it was preventing the latter, his close friend and former Birmingham City compatriot, which comfortably pleased the England Under-21 keeper the most.
Butland said: 'The one from Redderz was my pick. I'm good mates with him. I've got the bragging rights on that one now.
'I saw his eyes light up when he got through on goal so to keep that one out was brilliant and now I can keep him quiet for a while. I couldn't let him score. We've spoken and I'll leave it there. Until we meet later on in the season I've got the one-nil up on him.
'I'm very pleased. The pace and bounce of Norwich's goal got me a little bit, so I was disappointed with that. But I felt I came back well and I'm thankful I managed to make some saves to keep us in the game.'
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Mama Biram Diouf opened the scoring at Carrow Road before Butland was beaten by Russell Martin prior to the interval. A barrage of City pressure failed to pay off after the interval with their main man – the in-club replacement for Asmir Begovic who now plies his trade at Chelsea – grabbing the headlines.
The level-headed youngster was quick, however, to deflect suggestions his side's draw was down to his own brilliance – even though he took to the field with a broken finger sustained during training just 24 hours before kick-off.
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'We know we can be better. All of us, including me at times, were a detriment to our own downfall,' said Redmond's international team-mate.
'But we managed to stick in there and dig it out. Everyone did, with blocks and clearing crosses, so it was a team effort. Thankfully I managed to keep some of the shots out as well yet we've got room to improve. We're just thankful we've got out of the trip with a point.'
Having survived a second-half onslaught, Stoke headed home having become well aware of the attacking thrust of Alex Neil's top-flight new boys. While City may only have picked up a point for their efforts, most – including Butland – were impressed.
The former Derby County, Leeds United, Birmingham and Barnsley loanee, 22, added: 'We knew, and we saw, that Norwich are a good side. They've got some great attacking players.
'The wingers especially. But right down through the middle too. (Wes) Hoolahan is – even for his age – a brilliantly gifted player and he causes you problems. They're exciting. They've got Cameron Jerome up front who causes teams lots of problems and we know all about him (because he played for Stoke).
'They're a tough side. If they continue to defend well – they limited us to minimal shots – then I'm sure they'll continue to pick up points and do well in the Premier League.'