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‘There must be’ Manager launches furious blast at Aston Villa transfer ‘target’


Stoke City manager Nathan Jones has singled out Jack Butland for criticism following their latest Championship defeat.

The England keeper made two first half howlers as the Potters fell to a 3-1 defeat at Preston to leave them bottom of the table.

Butland was the source of constant transfer speculation this summer, with Aston Villa one of the clubs believed to be keen on the former Birmingham City man.

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It is understood that Dean Smith was preparing a bid for the 26-year-old, but was deterred by Stoke’s £20m+ valuation.

The keeper has claimed on several occasions that he needs to leave his current team, in order to maintain his international aspirations.

 

And Jones, who’s job is now under serious threat, believes a lack of focus on Butland’s part, is the only explanation for his dramatic fall-off in form.

“No one talks about him as being a Stoke goalkeeper,” Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Everyone talks about him losing his place in the England side or that he’s got to go abroad or leave Stoke to gain this or that.

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“But he’s got to do his job for Stoke first. I don’t know where he must be mentally because there’s so much talk about him, but realistically we all have to do our job for Stoke.

“You don’t go from being a top goalkeeper to making errors like he is at the minute. There must be something playing on his mind.

“Since I’ve come here there’s been a hangover of players wanting to leave, players thinking they are proper players, players wanting to go and play in Europe, players thinking of their international careers.”

Villa would eventually opt for the £8m Tom Heaton, who despite giving away a penalty in the defeat to Bournemouth, has earned rave reviews in his early outings for the claret and blues.



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