Mark Hughes is hoping Jack Butland’s England recognition can pave the way for Ryan Shawcross to join him in the national set-up.
Stoke boss Hughes has consistently pushed Shawcross’ international cause, but so far Roy Hodgson has overlooked the Potters defender. Shawcross has made only one appearance for England, which came three years ago when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Sweden.
The suspicion has always been that playing for Stoke has counted against Shawcross, so Hughes is encouraged by goalkeeper Butland establishing himself as a regular squad member and even pushing Joe Hart for the number one shirt.
Speaking at a fans’ forum, Hughes said:
“Why he isn’t involved at England level, once again I have no idea.
“Okay, they may look at the fact and say that he hasn’t played enough football this season because of his injury, but even before that when he was performing exceptionally well he wasn’t getting a look-in.
“Since I’ve been here he’s been absolutely outstanding. There aren’t many defenders like him in the game, I have to say.
“Obviously Jack Butland is involved in the England set-up, so maybe he will be able to put in a good word for him and he’ll be involved in the next one. Don’t hold your breath, mind.”
Shawcross missed the first two-and-a-half months of the season after undergoing back surgery but has played in the last three games and came out on top of a match-long tussle with Chelsea’s Diego Costa last weekend.
Costa has earned quite a reputation since moving to the Premier League last season, but Shawcross said:
“I played in the Championship and there’s a lot nastier people in the Championship and tougher people.
“Once you’ve got Costa concentrating on you rather than the game, you’ve won the battle. I was pleased he was concentrating on me and just delighted to keep him quiet because he’s a fantastic player.”
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