• England

Pulis backs Shawcross call-up

ESPN staff
March 1, 2010
Ryan Shawcross received an England call-up just hours after being sent off against Arsenal © Getty Images
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Stoke City manager Tony Pulis insists Ryan Shawcross deserves his England call-up, despite the defender being sent-off for a leg-breaking tackle at the weekend.

Arsenal youngster Aaron Ramsey suffered a double fracture following the tough challenge at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and Shawcross, who left the pitch in tears, was criticised by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

But Pulis believes the injury to Ramsey was an accident and insists Shawcross is not a dirty player. Now he wants the 22-year-old, the first Stoke player to receive an England call since 1984, to seize the chance Fabio Capello has handed him in England's friendly against Egypt.

"While we are all deeply saddened at what has happened to Aaron, we believe that Ryan is worthy of this chance to represent his country and hopefully put himself in contention for a place in the England squad for the World Cup finals," said Pulis.

"It has been a difficult time for Ryan and he is still upset at the seriousness of the injury to Aaron. But it is important to remember what he has achieved over the past two years when he has emerged as one of the best young defenders in the country.

"The amount he has come on in that time has been unbelievable, so I always felt that if he produced a consistent level of performances for us this season, as he has done, an opportunity would come along sooner rather than later."

Although Wayne Rooney in particular is a major fitness doubt after picking up a knee injury during Manchester United's Carling Cup final victory over Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday, all Capello's 24-man squad reported for duty.

Steven Gerrard, who is set to captain England against the African Nations Cup winners, was the latest domestic player to arrive following Liverpool's victory over Blackburn, with David Beckham then flying into the UK from Italy after Milan's Serie A triumph over Atalanta.

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