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​Butland back for Stoke after 13 months injury absence

Stoke keeper Jack Butland is ready to make his Premier League return after describing his injury absence as the toughest year of his career.

It is 13 months since Butland's last competitive appearance when he suffered a fractured ankle while playing for England against Germany.

However, the 24-year-old played the full 90 minutes on Monday night as the Under-23 side lost 2-0 to Brighton.

Asked if it had been the toughest year of his career, he told Sky Sports News: "Yes, by far. When I recovered from the first operation it wasn't too bad, it was the feeling like I was back and then the day before the first game of the season it kind of all was going pear-shaped.

"That three months leading into the last operation was tough. It was back and forth to specialists and radiologists and things like that, trying to get it right and put a finger on what it was.

"So, it's been since pre-season. I recovered from the first operation which then later set me back but I was playing in pre-season so I was pretty good then. It's been eight months since my last game so I am pretty pleased.

"I'm relieved and just dead pleased and happy to be back out on the pitch. It's obviously where I want to be and where I'm happiest.

"It's not been full steam ahead but it's gone smoothly and as we would've expected and I'm finally back where I wanted to be."

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Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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