It wasn’t the only debatable penalty decision at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday, but Ryan Shawcross’s decision to wrap his arms around Wilfried Bony highlights why the Stoke man doesn’t get the call when England are in action.
The centre back complained after the penalty: “In the press from previous games I have been singled out and it seems when the bigger players do it it is world-class defending but when I do it, it’s cheating”.
Now, Shawcross is right, this thing happens week in, week out in the Premier League, but that doesn’t make it right.
He may complain about bias to the bigger clubs, but Stoke fans will be the first to admit that Shawcross is a culprit of this sort of thing at set-plays far more than the average Premier League defender.
At the start of the month Mark Hughes made a case as to why the Potters’ captain should get an England call up:
“Since I’ve been here he’s been arguably our best player to produce on a regular basis. He’s got a lot of experience and if you look at England there’s not a lot of senior leadership there”, he stated.
Sparky is right to highlight Shawcross’s influence in his 200+ games in a Stoke shirt.
The former Manchester United man has actually produced a level of performance comparable to England’s first choice centre backs.
In fact, looking at the number of tackles, interceptions and blocks made, the 27-year-old has, in the last three years, matched and even bettered the stats from Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.
But as expected, the thing that has let him down is the number of fouls given away.
The press coverage may unfairly single Shawcross out, but he does need to improve on his discipline.
In an ideal world, the penalty that went against him at the weekend will start a wider campaign of clamping down on holding during corners, but in reality, it will be down to Shawcross himself to curb his over-physical nature if he is to pull on the Three Lions shirt again.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing
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