Red-hot Crouch should get England call -- Pulis
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has backed Peter Crouch to return to the England set-up, even though the striker was not named in Roy Hodgson's squad.
The 31-year-old made his last appearance in an England shirt in November 2010 in a friendly against France, but has since been left out in the cold despite, according to Pulis, being "on fire" this season.
Hodgson did include uncapped Stoke centre-back Ryan Shawcross in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland in place of John Terry, who retired from international football last month.
While Pulis is pleased the 25-year-old Potters defender is getting the recognition he thinks he deserves, the Stoke boss was frustrated about Crouch's continued absence from the England set-up, especially after he underlined his credentials by scoring both goals in the 2-0 win over Swansea last weekend.
"I spoke to Peter about it (not getting an England call-up) and said the best thing Peter can do is keep doing what he is doing," Pulis said.
"He's played exceptionally well last year and he's started this season on fire. He's been our best player, probably, over the games we have played and his goal tally is very, very good and we're very pleased with him.
"We've been a bit disappointed that one or two (Stoke players) over the last two years haven't got that reputation.
"With Matthew Etherington, I thought at one stage he should have been playing for England, or Ryan, and we're disappointed that Peter has not been selected.
"But, having said that, the lads are experienced enough and they're at a good football club that will look after them and supporters that idolise them in lots of respects.
"We're really delighted for Ryan as an individual. He's a fantastic footballer. He's been brilliant since he's come to this football club. He's a role model not just on, but also off the pitch and we're delighted he's got the recognition."
However, Pulis was quick to shrug off suggestions that Stoke players might be getting overlooked for international call-ups and backed Roy Hodgson in what he believes is one of the toughest roles in the game.
"Roy has a very difficult job, if not the most difficult job in English football," Pulis said. "He has a responsibility to himself, his coaching staff and the nation to pick the side he thinks is good enough.
"He's got enough experience and enough knowledge to get on with that and do it to the best of his ability.
"If he picks Ryan, then absolutely fantastic. If he doesn't pick Peter then we're disappointed but we understand."
Pulis added with regards to Crouch and the international break: "On a personal note, it's lovely for me to say: 'Pete -- a couple of weeks' break, mate."'
Back to his side, and Pulis is remaining positive despite a relatively slow start which saw Stoke only claim their first league win last weekend against Swansea.
The Potters boss is pleased with the competition for places between wingers Matthew Etherington and Michael Kightly and Stoke's ever-improving unbeaten home record.
Pulis said: "Matty Etherington, the last couple of weeks, he's come on as a sub twice and he's been fantastic. He looks like he's getting back to his best.
"Kightly is keeping him out at the moment because Michael has played really well, and that's what we want because we want that competition.
"There are other people -- Dean Whitehead and people like that who are on the fringes at the moment and waiting for their chances and it's lovely for us to have that. They're all good lads, they all work very hard and they all understand the situation.
"We knew the season was tough but as I say you're either half a cup full or half a cup empty and that was our 10th Premier League game at the Britannia without losing. "People have spoken about us not winning yet but nobody has mentioned those stats.
"That's half of those games against top clubs in the country so those are the positives."