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Butland earns praise

10 February 2013

Lee Clark and Chris Powell were full of admiration for Jack Butland after the goalkeeper produced a superb display for Birmingham in their 1-1 draw with Charlton at The Valley.

The 19-year-old, who signed for Stoke for ?3.3million last month and was loaned back to Birmingham, was in inspired form as he constantly denied the Addicks before finally being beaten by Yann Kermorgant's 88th-minute header.

The home side thought that would be enough for victory but Wade Elliott pounced from six yards deep into injury time to extend the Blues' unbeaten run to five games. Charlton had been on top throughout though and only Butland's heroics kept them out, earning praise from his manager Clark.

"As Tony Pulis says, I have got the bargain of the century," he said. "He is an exceptional talent, one of the best young talents in Europe and everyday he improves as he has got that desire and determination. How many young lads would have turned down the opportunity to go and play for Chelsea?

"He looked at the football side of it and he wants to play and educate himself and couldn't see himself in their first team for a while yet. That for me shows you what the lad is about, that's why he is going to be a top keeper.

"It won't be long before Jack is pushing Joe Hart to be the number one - and I think Joe knows that. We are really pleased with a point and it shows the character of the group as this isn't the first time we have scored a late goal to take something from the game."

Ricardo Fuller, Johnnie Jackson and Lawrie Wilson were all denied by Butland in the first half before he produced two superb stops from Scott Wagstaff after the break. Kermorgant's header from Chris Solly's cross looked to have won it for Charlton but Elliott converted Chris Burke's low shot to leave Powell frustrated at dropping two points, the third game in a row they have surrendered a winning position, but in awe of Butland.

"We came across a keeper who was in imperious form," he said. "He made some really good saves and you could see why he has gone to the Premier League.

"Fair play to him because you can see why so many people have been looking at him and why he has been bought by Stoke. His decision making and some of his saves were excellent, that kept them in with a chance and sadly so it proved. It's a real shame because the boys performed really well in conditions that were tough.

"We eventually got the breakthrough late in the game and were just looking to see it out in a strong way but it hasn't happened and we were disappointed. We have been in good positions where we needed to see it out and it is something we are going to have to learn from."

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