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Stoke complete deal for in-demand Butland

ESPN staff
January 31, 2013 « Etim: Renee Forte gets punished at Wembley Arena | Chartbeat test »
Jack Butland is now a Stoke City player, but will remain at Birmingham for now © PA Photos
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Stoke City have completed the signing of England international goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham City.

The deal, believed to be worth around £5 million, will see the 19-year-old return to the Championship club for the remainder of the season, after signing a four-year deal at the Premier League side.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Butland said. "I was just preparing myself every day as if nothing was going to happen.

"[But] I'm very happy something has happened, and lucky to come to a great club and looking forward to it."

Manager Tony Pulis added: "This is a fantastic signing for the club because Jack is the best young 'keeper in the country with an outstanding future ahead of him in the game and we are delighted to bring him here.

"It is important that we build for the future and this adds to the strong nucleus of young players which we have within the squad."

On Thursday Butland was also named as one of the two goalkeepers in Roy Hodgson's England squad to face Brazil, alongside Manchester City's Joe Hart. He was previously included in the Three Lions squad for last summer's European Championships following an injury to John Ruddy, eventually becoming his country's youngest ever goalkeeper in a friendly appearance against Italy in August.

He also represented Great Britain at the Olympic football tournament.

Earlier in the week Butland snubbed the chance to talk to Chelsea about a move, after the European champions expressed interest, saying that he would only consider moving for regular first-team football.

Stoke's current No. 1 is Asmir Begovic, who has attracted links with Manchester United in recent weeks after a series of consistent displays at the Britannia Stadium.

Butland had previously also been linked with moves to Liverpool, Fulham, Newcastle and Manchester City - while Everton and Southampton were previously believed to have seen bids turned down last summer.

"It just ticked all the boxes for me," Butland added, when asked why he chose Stoke. "It's a great club, a very solid club with great supporters."

Earlier in the evening, Stoke completed Brek Shea's £2.5 million move to the club after he was granted a work permit.

American midfielder Shea, 22, had already agreed the formalities of his move from FC Dallas to the Britannia Stadium after passing a medical.

He has signed a four-and-half year contract and said he was looking forward to the challenges of Premier League football.

Pulis, who travelled to Wembley for a work permit appeal hearing, told the club's official website: "It's fantastic news that we have been able to push through the deal.

"Brek is a very, very exciting player and one we firmly believe could go on to become an outstanding player for this club."

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