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Rangers manager Philippe Clement has backed Jack Butland to continue showing his international class in the domestic run-in after the goalkeeper suffered a double blow on Thursday.

Butland was left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad before Rangers crashed out of the Europa League with a 1-0 home defeat by Benfica.

Some reports had claimed the 31-year-old was on the verge of an England call-up for the first time since 2018 as his impressive Ibrox form coincided with an injury to Newcastle’s Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale’s lack of game time for Arsenal.

However, Southgate named Ramsdale and Crystal Palace keeper Sam Johnstone alongside number one Jordan Pickford for his team’s upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

England v Italy
Jack Butland made his England debut as a teenager

Former Birmingham and Stoke player Butland made his England debut at the age of 19 and won the last of his nine caps in 2018, before a move to Palace stalled his career.

However, he has been in outstanding form for Rangers since his summer move.

When asked if he was surprised England have overlooked his goalkeeper, Clement said: “I said from the beginning I will never interfere with whatever another manager needs to do out of selection because we don’t know all the details.

“Jack was ready to be there. So I think it proves that in England they have a lot of really good goalkeepers if he’s not there. That’s the only important thing.

Clement and Butland
The Rangers manager has backed his goalkeeper (Steve Welsh/PA)

“I spoke with Jack on Thursday afternoon but it was not really necessary because he was focused on the game, as he showed.

“Those are the things in life and he continues working hard for Rangers. Then other things can come. You create the possibility.

“The most positive thing is that, in the last couple of weeks a lot of things have been written about that, about Jack going to the England squad.

“I didn’t hear one person say, ‘oof, that’s a strange thing’. So in that he proved a lot already. He will continue doing that in the coming months.”

Rangers v Benfica
Benfica’s Rafa Silva scores the only goal at Ibrox (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers lacked quality in the final third against Benfica on Thursday and fell to a 3-2 aggregate defeat after being badly exposed on the counter-attack following their own corner.

But they have plenty to play for as the cinch Premiership leaders look forward to a trip to Dundee on Sunday and a Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts next month.

Clement said: “It’s already a memorable season. How long ago did Rangers last win the League Cup?

“We are hungry for the two other trophies. We are going to stick together and work really hard to focus on those two goals.

“I read a lot in the last couple of weeks that it was maybe better we were not in Europe any more. I didn’t agree and I still don’t agree about that but it’s now about focusing on the two other trophies.”