Stoke manager Mark Hughes has told Jack Butland to focus on club football first now that the long absence caused by the broken ankle he suffered 14 months ago is finally over.
Yet England manager Gareth Southgate cannot have failed to be impressed as the England goalkeeper showed himself to be as sharp as ever to deny West Ham a first away win since February.
Butland’s lightning reactions kept out a close-range bicycle kick from Andre Ayew in the first half before he prevented a header from Manuel Lanzini from going in by saving with his left foot midway through the second half.
Yet in a game of no goals but plenty of attacking intent, his contribution was more than matched by West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, whose work in front of his goal was equally telling.
West Ham have won only once in their last 11 matches but will be happy to have edged a point closer to safety, as well the home side, although their form has also tailed off disappointingly.
Chances were not in short supply at either end, starting with the moment in the eighth minute that Saido Berahino seemed about to end his goal drought.
Deep inside the West Ham box, the former West Brom striker controlled Marko Arnautovic’s pull back and made good contact with his shot only for Winston Reid made a brave block to deny him.
Stoke had the better of the early play but West Ham’s were impressively efficient in adopting a defensive shape quickly whenever their own attacks broke down.
Berahino had another half chance, set up by Joe Allen and thwarted this time by Jose Fonte’s quick reactions.
In an open first half, the visitors ultimately looked as likely as Stoke to draw first blood. Jonathan Calleri missed a good opportunity when he skewed his shot horribly over the bar after an incisive run by wingback Edmilson Fernandes before Butland made his first meaningful contribution to the contest.
Back in goal at the bet365 stadium for the first time in 413 days, he showed his reaction speed has lost nothing in his absence, throwing himself to his right to keep the ball out as Ayew met Arthur Musuaku’s cross with a well-executed overhead.
Given that Lee Grant’s form has been outstanding in his absence, Stoke boss Hughes has reminded Butland to concentrate on re-establishing his position as his club’s N 1 before thinking about reclaiming his England spot but Southgate, watching from the stands, will have been pleased nonetheless.
West Ham could be pleased with their showing against a team with a solid home record against all but the top sides, finishing the half with another chance for Calleri, this time on target but repelled by Bruno Martins Indi.
Stoke moved up a gear in the second half, with West Ham goalkeeper Adrian twice required to make telling interventions, keeping out efforts from Allen and Berahino, Allen having also fired a shot just the wrong side of an upright.
Butland then signalled his wellbeing again, diving to his left to save from Ayew again before using his left foot to deny Lanzini’s header.
Yet the England ‘keeper’s performance was matched at the other end by Adrian, who pulled off another fine stop as Arnautovic, getting in behind the West Ham defence, tried to convert Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross on the volley.
Shaqiri appealed for a penalty moments later when he went to ground in the box in trying to go past James Collins, although replays showed that referee Lee Probert was correct to turn him down.