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Don't ditch Shawcross, Huth tells England

Stoke defender Robert Huth has urged England boss Roy Hodgson not to abandon Ryan Shawcross on the evidence of 15 turbulent minutes at the hands of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in England's 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden last week.

Some pundits jumped to instant judgement on 25-year-old Stoke defender Shawcross after a miserable substitute appearance in Stockholm saw him given a torrid time by Ibrahimovic.

Moments after coming on to win his first England cap, Shawcross allowed Ibrahimovic to turn him and run through for the second of his four goals, but Germany international Huth believes his Potters defensive partner should be given another chance.

He said he hoped Hodgson had representatives at Stoke's 1-1 draw at West Ham on Monday, in which Shawcross demonstrated his character in a physical battle with Andy Carroll.

"Ryan was outstanding for the whole game," Huth said. "In the first half, he made one great tackle, and in the second he was the same as usual. So it was 15 minutes [for England] the other night, but for 90 he was outstanding for us.

"Compared to the England game, not many people will have seen the West Ham game to judge his real performance, but he was as good as any defender in the league and it is important to remember that."

Shawcross's central defensive partnership with Huth has helped Stoke concede just 11 goals in their 12 league games - the second-best defensive record in the division, behind champions Manchester City. Huth said he enjoys playing alongside Shawcross and respects him, adding: "I get on with him. He's similar to me in terms of ethic and attitude, but it is not just him and me. It is an 11-man job.

"It is easy at times to take the credit, but it is also about the midfielders and strikers because they defend as well."

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