Manchester United scouts have been sent to watch 19 year old goalkeeper Jack Butland, according to local media, with the youngster impressing on loan for Cheltenham this season.

Butland is currently contracted to Birmingham, but the club have twice sent the teenager out on loan to build up game time at the League Two side.

And after making 23 appearances for Cheltenham since September, The Manchester Evening News claims that United are keeping a close eye on the starlet.

Jack Butland
Jack Butland is a target for Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson has made no secret of the fact that he has limited time left at United, with the Scot revealing he may only be around for another two or three years before hanging up the hairdryer for the last time.

And with that in mind, he will be planning to leave a long-standing legacy with the club as he leaves, and a group of youngsters who can continue to be successful in the long term future as well as in the short term.

Butland could well be another small piece of Ferguson's plan, with the England Under 21 International already having played alongside the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley.

Some pundits have considered the theory that Ferguson might be following Barcelona's lead in recruiting players who will bond through representing both their country and club.

And that theory was given merit when last summer United signed the likes of Ashley Young and Jones, and brought Welbeck and Cleverley back from loan spells to give them a chance in the first team.

Ferguson could well be continuing to follow this trend in bringing young England players, who will have both country and club in common, as they play together for two common goals.

Meanwhile, Butland looks set to be tested in the coming weeks at Cheltenham, with the side currently two points clear in the play-offs for promotion to League One.

And Cheltenham manager Mark Yates admitted at the end of last year that the youngster has become an integral part of his side as they aim for promotion.

"Jack's really enjoyed it. He's been part of a team that have done really well," he said.

"He knows that, and Birmingham know that, and I think they are doing everything they can to try and make [an extended loan spell] happen. It's doing him the world of good playing games and he's played a big part for us."