Alex McLeish raves about Jack Butland as Rangers transfer news emerges
Alex McLeish has backed Jack Butland as having the right mentality to handle the pressures of being Rangers keeper if he takes over from Allan McGregor.
The Englishman, on loan at Manchester United from Crystal Palace, is in line to be one of Michael Beale’s summer signings, with the Scottish Sun reporting on 24 April that they were “on the brink” of a deal.
McLeish has compared his own retirement as a player to the likely end of McGregor’s Ibrox career, but is confident that the presumed next man in can fill the 41-year-old’s place in the team.
The former Ibrox boss said, as per the Sunday Post (30 April, p.4 of pull-out): “I had Jack and Birmingham City when he was a kid. He had really great potential.
“Coming to a club like Rangers you have to win every week, and save every ball. It’s different and a big, strong mentality is required.
“People get a rude awakening when they realise just how much the club has to win.
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“I guess, with the experience he has, he would have the capability and the mentality to handle it.”
Big shoes to fill
Perhaps it would have made sense for McGregor to call it a day last summer as expected, rather than slog through what has been a campaign filled with more lows than highs.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Jon McLaughlin wasn’t around at Ibrox for much longer either, and there are sure to be a significant number of departures from the squad this summer overall.
But it needs doing, and Butland could be the answer if he can recapture the form that made him England’s number one in waiting not so long ago, potentially with Robbie McCrorie as back up.
Joe Hart was the man Butland was in line to replace for the national team before both lost their standing south of the border, and he has found a home across the Old Firm divide.
So if the 30-year-old arrives at Rangers he has the ability to do the same for the Light Blues as long as he can cope with the pressures of the Glasgow spotlight.
McLeish believes he can do it and it looks like Beale does to, but the proof will be on the pitch next season in many cases, not least in goal.