Stoke City: Ryan Shawcross in for England long haul, says legend Gordon Banks
STOKE and England legend Gordon Banks believes Ryan Shawcross has a long-term England future, even if he doesn't win his first cap tomorrow.
World-Cup winning goalkeeper Banks, who is also Stoke City's club president, is delighted the 25-year-old defender has been called up to Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup qualifiers at home to San Marino tomorrow, and away to Poland next Tuesday.
Banks is one of only 22 players to have been picked for England while at Stoke City.
He's hoping Stoke captain Shawcross, below, will become number 23 tomorrow.
He said: "Ryan has done really well. I don't know what the manager has in mind, but he might play him because San Marino are a side that England ought to beat.
"That doesn't mean he will take a lot of chances, but he could give Ryan the experience while using more experienced England players around him.
"But if he doesn't play, I don't think it matters too much because I think he has a good chance of staying in the squad.
"Ryan's performing very well for Stoke and I can't see many others playing better."
If he plays, Shawcross would become the first Stoke player to win an England cap since Mark Chamberlain was picked for a World Cup qualifier against Finland at Wembley in October 1984.
Banks says an England cap for Shawcross would show the progress Stoke have made since chairman Peter Coates and manager Tony Pulis returned to lead the club six years ago.
Banks added: "It would be terrific to have a Stoke player playing for England again. It would show how far the club has come in these last few years.
"Ryan's call-up is terrific for him and the club.
"You can see the progress we have made with signing players like Charlie Adam.
"I will know how Ryan feels if he gets that first cap. He will be so proud and I am sure he will love every minute of it.
"It's not easy to get picked for England and, once you get in, it's not easy to stay there.
"For example, in my day, Denis Smith was unlucky not to be picked by England. He was such a strong player and so consistent, but there were a lot of good players around."
Banks was at the official opening of St George's Park, the new national football centre, at Burton on Tuesday.
He toured the facilities and watched Shawcross and the rest of the England players training.
He said: "Ryan seemed to be doing well. As for the national centre, I couldn't believe how big it is. The facilities are fantastic.
"Producing players still depends a lot on the youngsters because you still have to practice a lot, though."
Ryan tipped to rise to occasion: Page 42