Jack Butland has revealed he had passed on the chance to talk to both Manchester City and Chelsea, as he believes moving to a top club at such an early point in his career will stem his development.
The 20-year-old will move from Birmingham City to Stoke City at the end of the season and should slot straight into the starting eleven, with Potters' current No.1 Asmir Begovic expected to leave for a bigger club.
Butland believes moving to a top four club would restrict his chances of playing regular first team football and having to make do with appearances in Cup competitions. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City were all understood to be interested in making a move for the stopper.
"I had the chance to speak to Chelsea but I didn't feel like I needed to. It's a fantastic club and it would be a great honour to play for them at some stage. But I've got a chance to join a club where I feel I can better develop my game and take it to the next level, which I didn't feel at some of the other clubs I rejected," the England international said.
Butland also rejected the chance to join City as he felt that it would be difficult for him to usurp Joe Hart from the starting eleven.
"I turned Manchester City down about a year ago. Again I was flattered but Joe Hart is their undisputed No 1 and he was a main factor," the youngster added.
Mikel: This Spell Crucial for Chelsea
Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi is hoping the Blues' comeback against Manchester United in the quarter finals of the FA Cup can rejuvenate their season.
The west London side came back from 2-0 down at Old Trafford at the weekend, to earn a 2-2 draw and forced a replay at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea host Steaua Bucurest on Thursday in the Europa League Round of 16, as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit. However, their most important task remains to qualify for next season's Champions League. Rafa Benitez's men are currently five points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League table.
"Now is becoming a crucial time in the season when we have to start putting on good performances and this FA Cup tie is not yet done. You never write off Man United at any time and we have to go back to London and make sure we put this tie away," Mikel said.
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