PHILIPPE Clement would not like another manager telling him which players he needs to select for his Rangers team so he is not about to start offering advice to his England counterpart Gareth Southgate on who he should take to the Euro 2024 finals.

“I’m not going to make that mistake,” he said when he was asked about whether he thought Southgate should consider recalling Jack Butland to his national squad ahead of the tournament in Germany this summer given how well the Ibrox goalkeeper has performed since moving to Glasgow last year.

However, when he is quizzed about whether Butland, who has won nine caps for his country in the past and who was involved at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine when Roy Hodgson was in charge, is still capable of performing competitively at international level Clement does not hesitate. “He will do the job,” he said. “He’s really the complete package.”

The 49-year-old, who won 38 caps for Belgium and represented his homeland at both France ’98 and Euro 2000 during his own playing career, knows a keeper who is capable of gracing the greatest stages in the game when he sees one.

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He did, after all, have Simon Mignolet, the former Sunderland and Liverpool goalie, during his trophy-laden spell in the dugout at Club Brugge.

Clement feels that Butland, who his predecessor Michael Beale brought in on a free transfer before he arrived last year, is up there with anyone he has worked with before.

He certainly appreciates the former Birmingham City, Stoke City and Crystal Palace man has been a huge part of the success which Rangers have enjoyed both in Scotland and Europe – they have lifted the Viaplay Cup, drawn closer to Celtic in the cinch Premiership and qualified for the knockout rounds of the Europa League - in the past few months.

The Herald: Speaking ahead of the Premiership match against bottom-placed Livingston in Govan on Saturday afternoon, Clement admitted that he admires the outgoing nature and considerable presence of his No 1 every bit as much as he likes his technical ability and mentality. 

“Jack and Simon are really comparable because they are big personalities in the dressing room,” he said. “They are players who are really professional. They’re both so calm and confident. So I see a lot of similarities between those two. 

“I’m really happy with the way Jack is performing, but also with who he is as a professional, how he acts in the dressing room. He’s an important part of the team.”

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Clement was not at all surprised that Premier League outfit Nottingham Forrest tabled a bid for Butland this week as the end of the January transfer window drew closer and was pleased that the Rangers hierarchy rejected their offer.

The former Genk, Brugge and Monaco manager suspects that his outfield players have performed to the very best of their abilities since he was was appointed because they have such an experienced and accomplished footballer behind them.

He also understands why supporters – who chant the player’s name to the tune of Rockin’ All Over The World, the John Fogerty song that Status Quo made famous, every time the Glasgow giants take to the field – adore Allan McGregor’s replacement.

The Herald:

“He gives confidence to the defenders,” he said. “It’s like a chain - all the cables are connected with each other. Jack feels really good with how the defenders are playing in front of him and how they protect him, dealing with long balls and other things.

“And the defenders feel confidence with Jack behind them. It’s about communication, it’s about connection, it’s about working together. Those are all the things we’ve been busy on the last few months.

“I think the good thing is that for this moment the fans have confidence in every player in every line. That’s a big difference from a few months ago. We need to continue in that way and the players need to perform like they’ve been doing to confirm this confidence.”

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Clement continued: “It’s difficult to say one thing that I like about Jack because then you put one thing bigger than the others. He’s versatile in all the aspects you need from a goalkeeper. 

“Of course, some parts are maybe a bit better than others, but it’s not a big difference. You don’t really see a weakness. What is really important and his biggest strength is his personality. He’s calm, he’s confident also.

“This is how you build a reputation during the weeks and months that you are here, by making those saves. And that’s what makes strikers more nervous when they come into a situation with you, because of your presence.”

So, Jack Butland for England? Should Southgate, who has Jordan Pickford of Everton, Sam Johnstone of Crystal Palace, Aaron Ramsdale of Arsenal, Fraser Forster of Spurs and Nick Pope of Newcastle United at his disposal, consider giving the Rangers man a run-out before Euro 2024?

No Rangers player has turned out for England since the legendary Paul Gascoigne did so way back in 1997. Could Butland buck that trend? Clement will not even go there.

“What I don’t like is people telling me who I need to select so I’m not going to make that mistake for other managers,” he said. “But clearly if the national manager for England thinks he wants to select Jack, he will do the job.”