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Prem Report Card: Stoke

Premier League

Imbula stars as Stoke end on a high

Stoke CityStoke City
West Ham UnitedWest Ham United
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Mark Hughes continues to frustrate


Ryan Shawcross tipped for England

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes club captain Ryan Shawcross can play his way back into the England fold if he maintains his early-season form.

Ryan Shawcross and Stoke have won only one game in nine
Ryan Shawcross has won one cap for England.

On the eve of Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, which presents another potentially spiky reunion with midfielder Aaron Ramsey, Shawcross is being tipped to challenge again at international level.

"Ryan is playing really well," Hughes said. "He's a great captain as well. He's good around the place, takes the role of skipper on very easily and I'm really pleased he's here.

"With Robert Huth alongside him and an exceptional ‘keeper [Asmir Begovic] behind them, we have a very strong triangle there. We will always be strong defensively and they understand what it takes to bang good results out.

"Ryan has got into a couple of England squads and had a difficult time when he got on but he's still only 25 and is not underrated by me. He would like to be involved again but that only comes through playing regularly and playing well for his club, which he is doing at the moment. The way he's playing will help his England ambitions.

"He's enjoying what's happening here at the moment and that will enable him to change people's opinions of him. He has a lot of games under his belt for a young man and should be coming into his peak years. These years could be successful for him at club and international level."

Shawcross will be braced for further condemnation from Arsenal fans following the challenge which left Ramsey with a broken leg during the Gunners' visit to the Britannia Stadium three-and-a-half years ago.

Ramsey has been outstanding in the first few weeks of the season, and Hughes believes it is time any ill feeling over the injury is put to bed.

"Everybody needs to move on from that unfortunate incident," he said. "It gets regurgitated every time this game comes up. Bad injuries do happen in sport and Aaron has come back and is playing exceptionally well. He's probably one of the first names on the team sheet."


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