Jack Butland has revealed he texted Joe Hart after missing out on England's World Cup squad commiserating him.
It has been a tough few seasons for Hart after falling out of favour at Manchester City, an unsuccessful loan spell at Italian side Torino before another lacklustre season at West Ham last season, and despite playing the majority of England World Cup qualifying games in the build up to the tournament, he has been left out of the squad for the World Cup finals.
Gareth Southgate instead opted to take Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope as his three keepers to this summer's World Cup over the experienced Hart and speaking to the Guardian, Butland admitted he's devastated for Hart and that he texted his fellow keeper in support after the squad was announced.
He said: “We all thought, ‘Wow’. It was a gutsy decision from the manager. I’ve spoken to Joe. I know he’s devastated to miss out. I texted him once the squad had been announced and said ‘I’m absolutely gutted for you’.
"He’s been my hero since I was 14 years old and I still look up to him. It was important for me to tell him that because you don’t often get opportunities to tell people what you really think about them.”
The pair grew close whilst at Birmingham in the 2009/10 season when Hart was on loan at St Andrews whilst Butland was coming up through the ranks at the club. Butland went onto admit he admired Hart when he arrived at Birmingham and claimed he's learnt a lot from him.
He added: “When I was coming through at Birmingham – him as a goalkeeper, him as a person, I admired him. I wanted to be where he was, I wanted to be the No 1 for Birmingham and the No 1 for England and he was all those things. As we’ve got older, certainly the last couple of years, I’ve seen and learned more from Joe than I ever could have thought.
For the first time since Euro 2008, Hart will be watching the national team at a major tournament from home rather than travelling with the squad as Butland, Pickford and Pope all look to battle it out for that coveted number one role in the England squad.