Pulis keeps Shawcross as skipper
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has confirmed Ryan Shawcross will remain as Potters captain this season and believes the defender can force his way back into the reckoning for England in time for next summer's European Championships.
Shawcross captained the Staffordshire outfit to the FA Cup final last term, earning them a place in the Europa League and Pulis feels that with another successful campaign this time out, the 23-year-old - who received his only call-up to the senior England squad to date around 18 months ago for a friendly against Egypt but did not play - could find himself heading to Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012.
"I'm giving him the captaincy back and I'm hoping he picks up the baton again and continues getting better every year," Pulis told the Sentinel. "The big thing with Ryan is that he's got that carrot dangling in front of him in the shape of the European Championships next year. If he has a top, top season with us, there's no reason why he can't get into the England squad in time for that."
He continued: "Having (new Stoke signing and former England defender) Jonathan Woodgate around can only help him in that direction too."
Shawcross admits he does not feel "too wanted" by England at the moment but is determined to make an impact for the Three Lions, having told Wales boss Gary Speed he has no intention of switching allegiance.
"I have spoken to Gary Speed a couple of times and made my plans clear," Shawcross told stokecityfc.com. "He is a very good, young manager and I have a lot of respect for him, but I made my decision a long time ago when the current rule wasn't in place that I could play for Wales.
"Obviously he wants me to play for Wales but I made a decision and I'm going to stick with it. Hopefully I can prove I am good enough to get into the England team.
"I'm not in the England team at the moment so I don't think I'm too wanted there. It is good that Wales want me but this rule wasn't in place when I made my decision.
"My decision might have been different if the current rule was in place at the time but these things happen."
Stoke's Europa League campaign gets under way on Thursday night when they take on Croatian side Hajduk Split at the Britannia Stadium in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.