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Thursday 19 April 2018

Hughes says Shawcross deserves international recognition ahead of Potters milestone

Ryan Shawcross deserves an England call-up according to Mark Hughes.
Ryan Shawcross deserves an England call-up according to Mark Hughes.

Ryan Shawcross will make Stoke history with his 200th Premier League appearance on Saturday - and Mark Hughes believes further international recognition should follow.

Shawcross will become the first Potters player to reach the mark when Newcastle visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday after being virtually ever present during their six seasons in the top flight.

Hughes has been hugely impressed by the defender, who has been without his regular centre-back partner, Robert Huth, since November because of a knee injury.

But Shawcross' form has not been enough to earn him a recall to the England squad. He won his only cap against Sweden in a friendly in November 2012.

Manager Hughes said: "He's been outstanding this year, as he has been in most seasons that he's been here. I've been really pleased with what he's produced in terms of his leadership as well.

"He's a good professional; every single day he comes in and tries to be better than the day before. He prepares correctly and that's why he's been able to bang the games out.

"He's had an exceptional season. That hasn't been recognised unfortunately by the international team, but I think that will come if he continues in the same vein.

"He certainly warrants another look. Maybe because it's a World Cup year, in certain areas the thinking is they're going to stick with what they know."

Shawcross has been linked with plenty of top teams in the Premier League, but Hughes is confident he can further his international career at the Britannia Stadium.

"He's had opportunities while being a Stoke player so it shows that's not an issue," said Hughes. "If you're playing well enough, you should get an opportunity."

Hughes welcomes back Stephen Ireland from illness and fellow playmaker Charlie Adam is also in contention despite breaking his nose in four places.

The Scot collided with reserve goalkeeper Daniel Bachman in training and is hoping to play wearing a mask before undergoing surgery on Monday.

Hughes said: "We're hopeful we're going to get some kind of protection for him in terms of a mask. He's probably got an operation on Monday but he's putting his hand up for tomorrow."

Last weekend's 3-0 loss to Chelsea brought to an end a run of five games unbeaten for Stoke.

No team outside the top five has a better home record than the Potters this season, and they will be looking for revenge after a contentious 5-1 loss to Newcastle on Boxing Day.

Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson were both red-carded in the first half, while Hughes was also sent to the stands.

The Welshman said: "Leading up to the point where we lost two of our guys to sendings off, arguably we'd produced one of our best away performances.

"We were 1-0 to the good and totally in control of the game. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it was deemed a couple of challenges were worthy of red cards. We still dispute that.

"We were upset at the time and it actually knocked us back because we had a period after that game where we found it difficult to get points on the board.

"Thankfully it hasn't been too detrimental to us. We're in a good position, we're only six points behind Newcastle, so if we can get maximum points against them then we'll be on their shirt-tails."

Stoke certainly appear to be meeting the Magpies at the right time. Alan Pardew's side have lost their last three games heavily, conceding 11 goals and scoring none.

The game will come too soon for on-loan Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi, who is still recovering from a knee injury.

But the Moroccan saw a specialist in Holland this week and Hughes is hopeful he could be available for next weekend's trip to Cardiff.

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