England manager Roy Hodgson is facing the prospect of giving international debuts to two goalkeepers in the upcoming friendly against Italy after Manchester City’s Joe Hart pulled out of the match with an injury, leaving Norwich City’s John Ruddy and Jack Butland of Birmingham City in contention to start, the
Hart is suffering with a back injury and while it is not thought to be serious, it has been agreed between Hart’s club and the national team not to risk aggravating the problem unnecessarily. Hodgson has however decided against calling up a more experienced goalkeeper to replace his No. 1, leaving Ruddy and Butland likely to share duties in midweek, each playing 45 minutes.
Ruddy was originally part of Hodgson’s 23-man Euro 2012 squad but had to pull out of proceedings before the tournament got underway after breaking a finger. He was replaced by Butland who is set for the unusual landmark of making his international debut before he first appears for his club.
Butland has never played for Birmingham in a competitive match, but did spend last season on loan at Cheltenham Town, where his form was impressive enough to earn a place in the Team GB squad for the Olympics.