Liverpool and Everton battle for England stopper

Birmingham City Goalkeeper Jack ButlandEverton and Liverpool FC are set to enter the race to sign young England international goalkeeper Jack Butland from Birmingham City in January, the Daily Star reports.

The motivation behind David Moyes’ intention to sign the young keeper is his desire to add competition for incumbent Toffees stopper Tim Howard.

The American has been at Goodison Park since initially arriving on loan from Manchester United in 2006. Howard then signed in 2007 for £3million, going on to make 214 appearances in the Premier League as an Evertonian. With his last clean sheet back on 22nd September against Swansea, Moyes feels that healthy competition is needed between the sticks at Goodison.

Meanwhile, news of Liverpool’s interest could spell the end of Pepe Reina’s reign in goal at Anfield. The Spanish keeper missed a portion of the season after a hamstring injury banished him to the sidelines. Liverpool’s No. 2, Brad Jones, then failed to impress Brendan Rodgers.

With Arsenal being a possible location for Reina – as reported by the Daily Mail – Butland could be a likely No. 1 starter for the Merseyside club. But with sources noting that Rodgers has faith in Reina, the young England keeper could just be a viable long-term option.

Birmingham manager Lee Clark isn’t keen on losing his most prized possession, although the allure of potential financial relief from Butland’s sale might be too tempting for the cash-strapped Blues to turn down.

The youngster has starred for the Under-21s – as well as Team GB during the Olympics – and went onto make his senior England team debut in August as part of Roy Hodgson’s experimental side which faced Italy.