Stoke City: Ryan relishing his England mission
ENGLAND newcomer Ryan Shawcross is quietly optimistic he can kick-start his international career over the next eight days.
The popular Stoke skipper is hoping to earn his debut in either of England's two World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland after being recalled 19 months after his one previous selection.
And he joins up with his England team-mates in bullish mood following a resilient defensive display during yesterday's 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
"I'm delighted to be called up," said the 25-year-old defender, "and I'm just looking forward to getting there and hopefully proving I'm good enough to be around the squad and to continue being in the squad in the future.
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"It's up to me to play well and see what happens. After that you never know."
He admitted he was humbled to be following in the footsteps of legendary Stoke favourite Neil Franklin – City's last centre-half to play for England.
"In the past Stoke have had some great players play for England, but not so many recently.
"Now the likes of me and Peter Crouch are pushing hard to get into that squad."
Shawcross declared himself delighted with a second successive clean sheet as Stoke claimed a third 0-0 draw in five Premier League visits to Anfield.
"It's a difficult place to come against a top team with aspirations for the top four," he argued.
"It's been a great start to the season and that's continued. We've had a few chances, but overall a draw is probably fair to both teams because they defended pretty well.
"There's a great aura at Anfield and they sing their song (You'll Never Walk Alone) before the game. It's a daunting task against the Kop, but I felt we kept them quiet.
"It (their song) does make you feel nervous, but once the game gets going and you keep them quiet for 10 minutes it all dies down. All the lads defended well, from Crouchy to the back, and to keep (Luis) Suarez and Steven Gerrard quiet is no mean feat."
Shawcross deftly sidestepped any controversy about Suarez's diving yesterday by sympathising with referee Lee Mason's task in front of a partisan home crowd.
"The ref has got a very difficult job," he continued. "The game is so fast nowadays it's split-second decisions. I'd rather focus on what a good player he (Suarez) is and how delighted we were to keep him quiet.
"He's probably the toughest me and Robert Huth have come up against."
Stoke now have eight points after negotiating a tricky set of opening fixtures ahead of one more tough assignment after the international break at Manchester United.
"It's been a very difficult start," he reasoned, "and we've probably played better than our points tally shows.
"We've got one more difficult game and then it will ease off a bit, not that there are any easy games. We haven't conceded many goals and hopefully that will continue throughout the season."