You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become a meme.
When a 19-year-old Jack Butland joined Stoke in 2011 he had English football eating out of the palm of his XL gloves.
Fast forward eight years to a rainy Wednesday night at Deepdale, those same gloves dropped two howlers to cost his side three points and all of a sudden the move to a top six club that once looked inevitable now seems a lifetime away.
Butland’s demise from future England no1 in waiting to Championship struggler is an alarming one.
Despite Stoke’s relegation in 2018, the reputation of the nine-time England international largely remained intact and it was assumed he would make an immediate return to the Premier League.
His tears on the final day of the season were met with scepticism, but Butland would ultimately stay put after Stoke priced him out of a move back to the top flight.
He furthered his case for a Premier League return after an impressive campaign in the Championship and was named Stoke’s Player of the Season for 2018/19.
Aston Villa flirted with a move for the 26-year-old for much of the summer but ultimately opted for Burnley’s Tom Heaton instead and in the process denied Butland his Premier League salvation.
A string of high-profile errors have marred Butland’s season and recently cost him his starting spot in a Stoke side now cemented to the foot of the Championship.
Nathan Jones insists the speculation that has surrounded the 26-year-old for much of his Stoke career is beginning to spill over to the pitch – a view clearly shared by Gareth Southgate.
The England manager omitted Butland from his latest squad with Jordan Pickford, Heaton and Nick Pope all getting the nod in his place.
Butland is rapidly in danger of suffering a similar fate to Joe Hart.
The two-time Premier League and four-time Golden Glove winner is now redefined as the ardent dandruff fighter who warms the bench for Burnley.
Hart’s career has been spilt in two and now Butland runs the risk of becoming the promising youngster who ultimately failed to fulfil his potential.
The highlight of his season came in the Carabao Cup victory over Leeds as he calmly netted in the shootout – the caveat being that his error allowed Leeds back into the game.
At 26, Butland is still in the infancy of the life of a goalkeeper and so it becomes impossible to not imagine him back in the Premier League in the future.
However, in what capacity Butland gets his second chance in the top flight remains to be seen.
First-choice, or the new Stuart Taylor, it’s a toss of a coin.