Jack Butland Texted Joe Hart After His England World Cup Squad Omission
Jack Butland sent Joe Hart a text after the 31-year old was omitted from Gareth Southgate's England squad for the World Cup.
Hart had been the Three Lions' number one for the last few years, featuring as the preferred choice at Euro 2012, the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 as well as playing nine out of the ten 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
There was a time where he was seen as indispensable in the national team fold. However, a poor run of form on loan at West Ham United after he was cast aside by Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, led to the Shrewsbury Town youth product being overlooked.
Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope, the latter impressing in between the sticks at Burnley, were all chosen by Southgate.
The fact that Tom Heaton, who was injured for the majority of the season, is on standby ahead of Hart, is particularly telling of the situation the four-time Golden Glove winner finds himself in.
Butland, who has idolised Hart from being an upstart and met him when they were at Birmingham City together, says it came as a major surprise and revealed the text he sent him.
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"We all thought, 'Wow'. It was a gutsy decision from the manager," the Stoke City shotstopper told The Guardian.
"I've spoken to Joe. I know he's devastated to miss out. I texted him once the squad had been announced and said 'I'm absolutely gutted for you'. He's been my hero since I was 14 years old and I still look up to him.
"It was important for me to tell him that because you don't often get opportunities to tell people what you really think about them.
"What he's been through and the humility that he's dealt with thing - despite everything that's gone on. He's always been the first one to congratulate whoever's played. That shows more about Joe as a person and character than any of the saves or great performances he's had throughout his career."
When the squad was announced last week, Hart took to Instagram to express his disappointment at being left out but wished the rest of the team well and said they know he'll be cheering them on as a fan.
Not going to lie, I'm gutted. After 2 years of trying to make the most of a really tough situation, this is hard to take. I'm proud to have put in the graft and play every minute to qualify with the team and have a really important input in that outcome. I know what I bring to the team, but it is what it is. Good luck to the team out there, the players know that even though I won't be there, I will have my England shirt on as a fan this time and supporting all the way. No fear, go and smash it. and proud x
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