Jack Butland has paid tribute to his two dogs for helping to keep him sane during the coronavirus lock down.
Butland, who is also holed up with his partner and young son, was speaking to Sky Sports when the dogs – a spaniel (Ralf) and dachshund (Rosy) – tried to have their moment in the spotlight.
A chuckling Stoke City keeper said: “Man’s best friend, aren’t they? They’re pretty cool and great to have around.
“It puts things in perspective doesn’t it? They haven’t got a care in the world.
“It reminds you to just chill out and relax and it keeps us at home, ultimately, and gives us a bit of sanity getting them out for a walk early in the morning.
“Yeah, it’s really good to have them around, bless ’em.”
The Stoke City number one said he was treating the current lay off a little like his summer holidays.
“It’s strange times for everyone,” Butland continued.
“For me, I’m try to process it as this is our summer. I think when we do resume, it’s going to kind of eat into that.
“So what I’ve been trying to do is treat this as the summer, if you like, spending time with the family and trying to keep busy and keep fit.
“So I’ve been ticking over and doing stuff in the garden. Fortunately the weather has been pretty good.
“Trying to keep occupied because it can be quite easy to get cabin fever with the need to stay home.”
The former England keeper said he was grateful for the close beyond between his club and its community at a time like this.
“We have a responsibility as players, as public figures if you like to be role models, to help out where we can.
“It’s something that’s always been massively important to me and it has been to the club with the community in and around Stoke.
“There’s always been a tight bond there, which has continued through this time, and it’s going to have to continue.
“Certainly for me, that’s how I try to be.
“I try to be a role model for the young fans out there that either want to be goalkeepers or just love football.
“We have a job, not just playing football, but being a supportive member of the community and being a role model as well.