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Keeper Butland to start for England in Lithuania

Jack Butland and Joe Hart

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Goalkeeper Jack Butland will start for England in their final 2018 World Cup qualifier in Lithuania on Sunday.

England secured their place at the tournament in Russia with a game to spare and manager Gareth Southgate has opted to replace Joe Hart with Butland.

The Stoke keeper, 24, will win his sixth cap and get the chance to impress with Hart’s form being questioned.

“He has been patient, his form has been good. It’s a good opportunity for Jack,” said Southgate.

Manchester City’s Hart, on a season-long loan at West Ham, started the 1-0 Wembley win over Slovenia on Thursday which sealed qualification.

But the 30-year-old’s place has come under increasing scrutiny following errors at Euro 2016 and conceding two Leigh Griffiths free-kicks in the 2-2 draw with Scotland at Hampden Park in June.

Butland is one of Hart’s rivals for the number one spot, along with Fraser Forster of Southampton, Everton’s Jordan Pickford and the injured Tom Heaton of Burnley.

“We’ve got great competition for places. Joe was excellent the other night. We’ve got other good goalkeepers,” added Southgate.

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