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Published: 18:35 | 1/8/16

Given ready to push Butland


Shay Given hopes to keep up the pressure on Stoke City's first-choice goalkeeper Jack Butland ahead of the new season.

The 134-capped Ireland star, who announced his retirement from international football last week, says he is ready to step up from the bench at the Bet365 Stadium should England goalkeeper Butland get injured or lose form.

Butland missed the final six weeks of last season after suffering an ankle injury on international duty, but the 23-year-old is expected to be Mark Hughes' No 1 when the Potters face Middlesbrough at the Riverside in their Premier League opener on August 13.

'If Jack does slip up or get injured then, you want to be there and take that position and given the opportunity I still think I can play in the Premier League," he told Stoke City's official website.

"I feel sharp and my body feels good so I'm trying to push Jack as hard as I can to get a position in the team."

Given played in Stoke's final match of the 2015-16 season against West Ham, replacing the out-of-form Jakob Haugaard as Butland's understudy, and impressed in the 2-1 home win over Slaven Bilic's side.

'I didn't play many games last year and that was because of Jack. I got a few towards the end of the season and particularly the West Ham game. I made some saves that contributed to the victory," he continued.

"As I say, this week [of pre-season training in Orlando] has gone really well, my body feels great and I'm really looking forward to the new season."

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