Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that new loan signing Jack Butland has a chance of making his debut for the club in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.
Butland has joined United from Crystal Palace for the rest of this season, replacing Martin Dubravka as a deputy to David de Gea after the Slovakian was recalled to parent club Newcastle.
The 29-year-old, who was formerly a Premier League number one at Stoke and was a member of England’s 2018 World Cup squad, will now compete with veteran Tom Heaton to be the first choice alternative and back-up to De Gea.
Butland only completed his move to Old Trafford on Friday and so was not registered in time to be involved in the FA Cup win over Everton later that day. But as United prepare to host Charlton in English football’s other domestic cup, he looks certain to at least be in the squad.
Ten Hag has hinted that Heaton, now 36 and back at the where it all began following more than 300 career appearances elsewhere, could get the nod by virtue of being more in tune with how United play. However, the United boss has also said there is ‘no issue’ with Butland.
“Tom was, many times, on the bench,” Ten Hag has said in the build up to the Charlton tie.
“He had bad luck when he was injured for the Carabao Cup, the first one against Aston Villa. Then Martin was keeping and he did very well. Now the situation with [utland coming in, I have to see his performance in training. But the Carabao Cup is coming quick and then we will make a choice.
“Tom is, of course, more adapted to our way of play and has more connection to the dressing room, to the team, but I still have a decision to make on Tuesday. But, for me, there is no issue.”
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If Butland doesn’t play against Charlton, it is unclear when his chance would come. Ten Hag could prefer De Gea in the latter stages of the Carabao Cup if United get there, while the Spaniard has also retained the gloves in both the FA Cup and Europa League this season.
Heaton only played once in all competitions last season – 22 minutes off the bench in a Champions League dead rubber, while a frustrated Dean Henderson played just three times and has since left on loan this season to a number one at Nottingham Forest instead.