SINGAPORE: Stoke manager Mark Hughes declared Friday that Jack Butland will be his first-choice goalkeeper for the upcoming Premier League season despite the club's recent signing of veteran Shay Given and Danish youngster Jakob Haugaard.
Butland, who has one England cap to his name, joined Stoke from Birmingham City in January 2013 but has played just six matches for the Potters in the past two and a half years with much of that time spent on loan at Birmingham, Barnsley, Leeds United and Derby County.
Although the starting goalkeeper's position is up for grabs following the sale of Asmir Begovic to Chelsea and the retirement of Thomas Sorensen, Hughes feels it is now time for the 22-year-old to establish himself as the club's No.1.
"I think the intention is to give Jack Butland a run in the side now," said the Stoke boss at the Barclays Asia Trophy in Singapore.
"He's a player that we have every confidence in. He's bided his time, he's been patient. He's an outstanding young goalkeeper and I think that's acknowledged right across the board, so we all feel his time is now -- he will have an opportunity to really stake a claim."
While keen to give Butland an opportunity, Hughes expects the 39-year-old Given to offer him strong competition for the starting spot.
"Certainly with Shay joining, he has experience and knowledge of the Premier League over many years which Jack doesn't have at this moment in time. So his experience, not only training with him but imparting his knowledge to Jack, will be invaluable," he said.
"But Shay still sees himself as very much a number one keeper and so he will push Jack and that's exactly why I brought him to the club. If there is a situation where Jack's form dips, then we have got the experience of Shay to fall back on. And knowing him as I do, he would look to take that opportunity."
Stoke face a Singapore Select XI in the third place play-off at the Barclays Asia Trophy on Saturday and while Haugaard impressed in the goalless draw with Everton on Wednesday, Hughes intends to split goalkeeping duties between Butland and Given.
"Our intention is to give Jack Butland and Shay Given a half each tomorrow," he said. "I thought that Jakob Haugaard did really well on Wednesday and it's important for him to have a taste of playing in a Stoke City shirt so I'm really pleased for him as a young goalkeeper.
"But obviously now, two senior goalkeepers have come into the group and they will get some game time."
Hughes is also excited about the acquisition of Moroccan teenager Moha El Ouriachi, who was signed by Stoke this week after opting not to extend his contract at Barcelona.
"He's a good young player and it is a good opportunity for him to travel with us," said the Welshman.
"He's a young player with good technical ability and he is quick. We're looking forward to seeing him develop with us.
"He made a big decision to leave Barcelona but he did it because he felt he might get more opportunities to develop with us and if he continues to impress like he has done, then there might be a pathway into the first team for us."