Stoke City have not had a good start to the Sky Bet Championship season and it doesn’t get any easier for them this weekend with them taking on top of the table Leeds United.
The Potters made some decent signings in the summer window and managed to keep the likes of Jack Butland at the club, but the goalkeeper, by his own high standards, has made a handful of errors already this season.
Indeed, in the game against Preston he was at fault for more than one goal that was conceded at Deepdale and, unfortunately for him, it begs the question as to whether he should be dropped by manager Nathan Jones for the weekend.
To assess the situation, we spoke to former Spurs and Portsmouth midfielder Michael Brown to get his thoughts on it all.
He told Football League World exclusively:
“I’ve seen him come out and say that he needs to concentrate on his football and I’d be interested to see what’s caused him to feel the need to come out and say those quotes really.
“He’s normally a good goalkeeper so he’s getting frustrated because he hasn’t really made those sorts of mistakes earlier on in his career. Also, is the team in front of him at a level that is making him lose concentration?
“Let’s also hope that there isn’t a problem between him and the manager because they don’t need that. The manager has brought in a lot of players now but it would be a big call to leave Butland out.”
Certainly, it would be a big call to leave the former England man out of the side but, if Brown was in Nathan Jones’ shoes, would he make that decision? We posed that to him:
“If I was Nathan Jones, I think dropping him depends on how he is towards me as the manager and what his persona is like.
“If he’s back in training and has a good attitude although he’s not been playing great then I would back Jack Butland at this level to continue in the side.
“I would look at his body language, how it impacts the group and I wouldn’t just judge him on the mistakes but how he is around the place and the rest of his team-mates, then make the call.”
Ultimately, it’s up to Jones and he hasn’t gone long left before he needs to make the decision for the weekend.