‘I can give you that’ – Michael O’Neill’s goalkeeping dilemma at Stoke City



Michael O’Neill isn’t giving too much away when he’s quizzed on who might start the season as Stoke City’s number one – and he insists that whoever he picks for the EFL Cup this weekend might not give the whole game away either.

Jack Butland was O’Neill’s first choice after taking over in November and stayed in goal until a neck injury heading into the final fortnight.

Adam Davies, a 2019 summer signing from Barnsley, then seized his chance, however, with a series of influential turns, including a couple of man of the match performances.

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Butland has since been the subject of talk and speculation about his future – while coming through the ranks, Stoke coaches highly rate new England under-21s call up Joe Bursik – now on loan Doncaster Rovers – and Blondy Nna Noukeu.

O’Neill said: “I wouldn’t read too much (into who gets the nod against Blackpool). I will be playing a goalkeeper, I can give you that!

“But you’ll just have to find out on Saturday, I wouldn’t get too excited about that at this minute in time.

“Jack (Butland) and Adam (Davies) have trained well together – they always train well together.

“We’re pleased. We had young Joe Bursik for the first start of pre-season before he went on loan to Doncaster and young Blondy (Nna Noukeu) who has been excellent. He’s been around the first team training since we came down from lockdown and before that even. He’s a really promising prospect as well.

“The goalkeepers are on good form.”





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