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Butland can be England's new No.1, insists Pearce

Butland has performed impressively for Stoke since returning from injury. Photo: PA

Stuart Pearce believes Jack Butland has "all the credentials" to be England's first-choice goalkeeper at the 2018 World Cup.

Joe Hart's long-held status as number one is under greater scrutiny than ever and, with a year to go before the tournament in Russia, the challengers are lining up.

Jordan Pickford, Tom Heaton and Fraser Forster all have their advocates but national boss Gareth Southgate is a big admirer of Stoke stopper Butland, who made his international comeback against France in June following a year of injury.

Pearce knows him well, having managed him at England Under-21 level and again in the Great Britain Olympic team, and is convinced he has the pedigree.

"It wouldn't surprise me at all if he became the number one for England, it's up for grabs and I have no doubt he's got all the credentials," he told Press Association Sport at Eden Vauxhall Torbay.

"He is a really strong character. I know Jack has he was always above his years, as a young man of 18 or 19 he had the mentality of a 27-year-old.

He's got a very solid background and it's no surprise to me that he's achieving.

"It's important young players have tournament experience and Jack has done that, he's an Under-17 European Championship winner, he played at the Under-20 World Cup an the Olympics. He knows what it's like to wear the shirt."

Pearce also tipped another of his former Under-21 charges to become England's next permanent captain.

Southgate has not named favoured a regular skipper since taking charge but, with Wayne Rooney now retired, may yet name a successor before the World Cup.

"In my time with under-21s Jordan Henderson captained and I think he has the right qualities," he said.

"He's captain of a very big side in Liverpool and his heart and his mentality are in the right place. He's a totally unselfish character who puts others before himself.

"Jordan is a solid citizen who leads from the front, the vocal side of the game might not be what it was in my day and age but you lead in other ways - the ones who shout a lot often don't have a lot to say.

"He hasn't always had things go swimmingly in his career, he had his doubters at Liverpool about about the fee or whether he had the ability, but things like that can make you stronger."