By PA Sport
Last Updated: 12/07/18 11:06pm
Jack Butland has made eight senior appearances for England
Jack Butland is hoping to make his World Cup debut in England’s third-place play-off against Belgium and play his part in a tournament which has rebuilt the national side’s reputation.
Defeat to Croatia in extra-time on Wednesday ended English dreams of a first final in 52 years but they have one more assignment, against their former group rivals, before heading home.
‘England similar to Germany in 2006′
Butland and fellow goalkeeper Nick Pope are the only members of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad who have yet to feature in Russia, with Jordan Pickford playing all six matches but the Stoke ‘keeper is hoping this will change come Saturday.
Jordan Pickford has been hailed as one of the star players for England at the World Cup
“You’re never gifted an England appearance but if I play then that’s brilliant,” Butland said.
“I’ve done my best out here, I’ve tried to support Jordan the best I can to help give us the best chance as a team. If given the opportunity to play I would love it and hopefully there’d be a few of my family out here to watch it as well.
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“It’s a difficult game because we wanted to be in the final. We’ll need a day of dusting off, putting everything to bed and try to bury it as best we can. We want to try and finish on a high on Saturday and if given the chance I’ll relish it and enjoy it.”
Pickford echoed his team-mate’s comments by insisting “third place is a prize worth fighting for”.
Belgium full-back Thomas Meunier says his team will have to be at their best if they want to beat England
He added: “We came to win this tournament, we can’t do that now but we want to finish third. Even if we can’t finish as the best team in the world, we can still be the third best.
England disrespect ‘extra motivation’
“Of course it will be hard to get ourselves up for it and that’s where character comes in. It’s another chance to show our togetherness. We want to finish a great tournament on a high.
“If we win we can look back on it with a lot of pleasure and that is what it is all about. Hopefully I will get the nod against Belgium. I’d love to get the goalkeeper of the tournament.”