Jack Butland missed 13 months of football due to a broken ankle sustained against Germany
The Stoke goalkeeper underwent three operations after picking up a stress fracture of his ankle in England’s friendly against Germany in Berlin in March 2016.
He only made his comeback for his club in April but, in these next two games for England, in the World Cup qualifying match with Scotland on Saturday night and then France in a friendly on Tuesday, he is hoping to take one further step in his comeback.
Butland, 24, said: “Sometimes you reach your lowest point. Times when you don’t know if you are going to play again, when the next operation or injection might be.
“There are times when you are at rock bottom but that’s when you need the people around you – your club, your fans, everything from little tweets on social media just to give you that bit of reassurance, that positivity.
There are times when you are at rock bottom but that’s when you need the people around you
Stoke keeper Jack Butland
“I feel I’ve experienced everything I can in football. Positive things – winning, losing, the injury side of it all the setbacks, so yeah. I’m sure there’s plenty more to experience but I’m prepared for whatever is next.
“It feels extremely, extremely good to be back. It has been a long time and to get the Three Lions back on my chest after some difficult times is really good.
“The worst bit is missing out on being part of a team. It can be a lonely place when you are injured. You miss being out there with your team-mates. It was the drive and belief of wanting to get back to where I was that kept me going.
Peter Crouch scores handball goal for Stoke against Arsenal Sun, May 14, 2017
Peter Crouch scored with a blatant handball for Stoke City during their 4-1 defeat to Arsenal
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Peter Crouch scored a controversial goal for Stoke City against Arsenal
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“I wanted to make up for all the lost time – missing out on Euro 2016 – and missing so many Premier League games. It’s not nice not being able to do something you love.”
With Joe Hart having had a troubled time since his move to Torino last summer, Butland has the England No1 in his sights. He said: “We all have team goals, individual goals. I want to be not just the best I can be but I want to be the best in the world.
“I want to play with the best in the world, look back on my career and won things and be in successful teams, regularly winning things, European Championships and World Cups with England – the same as any young player. It’s the ultimate.”