Butland surprised by Arsenal links

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Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland has expressed his surprise at recent reports linking him with a move to Arsenal despite his lack of playing time over the past 12 months.

The 24-year-old has not featured for Stoke since March 2016 due to a series of ankle injuries, but his problems have seemingly not stopped Arsenal from showing an interest in signing him.

Butland, contracted at Stoke until 2021, sees it as a positive that he is still rated highly, but does not want to give too much importance to transfer rumours at this stage.

"I must have done all right this past year, I cannot remember," Butland jokingly told Stoke Sentinel.

"That is football. It is not anywhere near the transfer window yet, but that is the way papers work.

"I just take it as a positive that I am still thought about in the football world after so long out.

"But my focus is on Stoke, always has been, and playing well. I am just worried about getting playing again, getting the gloves and boots back on. My only focus is playing again for Stoke, getting some game time before the end of the season and hopefully start getting back into the England side as well."