This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Player view’ series, this content strand is where we put ourselves in the shoes of a given player, and offer an opinion-based outlook on the perspective on the situation at hand…
It has been a hugely underwhelming start to the season for Stoke City, with the pressure already starting to build on manager Nathan Jones just two games into the new campaign.
Big things are expected of the Potters this season, with Jones bringing in plenty of new faces as he looks to get his feet properly under the table at the bet365 Stadium and rebuild his squad.
But the Staffordshire outfit have started the season off in bitterly disappointing fashion, succumbing to a 2-1 home defeat to QPR on the opening day of the campaign before being easily beaten 3-1 by Charlton Athletic at The Valley on Saturday.
It’s a hugely frustrating time for Stoke fans, who can see that they have a very talented squad of individuals on paper, but things just aren’t working out on the pitch for whatever reason.
Jones brought in 10 new faces in the off-season, similarly to last summer under Gary Rowett, who overhauled his squad with the likes of Tom Ince and Sam Clucas.
Clucas and Ince have both been regulars under Jones in the early stages of this season, as has Jack Butland, who endured a very difficult summer of his own.
The England international, at one stage, looked destined to depart the Staffordshire club after a six-year stay with the Potters, with the likes of Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth believed to be after his services.
Jones even brought in former Barnsley goalkeeper Adam Davies on a free transfer, and it looked like the 18/19 League One promotion-winner was going to be Butland’s replacement ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
But as time went by, clubs began to pull out of the race to sign to the 26-year-old, with Stoke slapping a lucrative £23m price tag on the player, who has two years left on his contract at the Bet365 Stadium.
Butland has since remained professional and started both of Stoke’s first two games of the campaign, however you wouldn’t blame him for feeling frustrated inside.
It came as a major surprise to many when he snubbed interest from Premier League giants Liverpool, and stayed at Stoke last summer, but after a terrible season in the Championship, he will have undoubtedly been looking to return to the top-flight this time around.
Both Palace and Bournemouth were, and perhaps still are in need of goalkeepers, and Butland would have definitely been a regular for those sides if he made the move to either Selhurst Park or the Vitality Stadium.
A move to the Premier League could have also helped him force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s plans for the England squad, because at the age of 26, he will feel that he still has so much to offer to the Three Lions.
It remains to be seen whether Stoke pick themselves up and start pushing up the Championship table, but as things stand, the Potters and Butland are in for a difficult start to the season, after a summer that promised so much for both.