Stoke City and England International Jack Butland says his ultimate aim is to be England’s number one goalkeeper.
He has praised Stoke manager Mark Hughes for giving him a chance in the Premier League and says he now feels he can be the best in the country.
He was visiting the YMCA in Hanley to take part in an anti-discrimination workshop run by football campaign group Kick It Out.
Kick It Out puts on events up and down the country to spread the message of anti-discrimination.
Butland attended the event, which was hosted by ex-Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa player Paul Mortimer, who works for Kick It Out.
The Potters’ goalkeeper, who is an ambassador for Kick It Out, took questions from the audience on many topics including discrimination, his inspirations and his rivalry with fellow England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Talking about sporting inspirations, Butland said: “I wasn’t a goalkeeper until I was 12 or 13.
“Growing up in Bristol, I was part of a rugby family so I wasn’t thrust into kicking a ball around.
“Outside of football, I really liked rugby.
“I remember sitting and watching the 2003 World Cup – Johnny Wilkinson with the winning drop goal.
“I loved sport, I was never focused on one, it was never just football for me.”
Since 2012, 22-year-old Butland has three international caps to his name, and is now challenging Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart for the number one shirt for England.
Asked if he saw Hart as a rival or a mentor, he said: “A bit of both.
“He came on loan to Birmingham when I was 15/16, so for me at the time he was someone that I learned a lot off.
“He’s England’s number one, he’s playing in the Champions league with Manchester City.
“He’s a rival as well.
“We both get on, but there’s no denying that I want to be England’s number one, and if he’s got it, then I want to try and take that from him.”
On discrimination, Butland said: “I think that anyone that stands up and tries to determine what people should and shouldn’t do is wrong.
“It’s up to the individual.
“If you see something you don’t agree with it’s up to you to stand up for others.”
Watch Butland talking to StaffsLive at the event below: