Shawcross rejects Wales call

Ryan Shawcross
Ryan Shawcross is still hopeful of full England honours after rejecting Chris Coleman's invitation to join up with Wales. Photo: PA

Ryan Shawcross has turned down the chance to play for Wales and has pledged his allegiance to England, manager Chris Coleman has revealed.

Shawcross has emerged as one of the most promising English centre-backs in the Barclays Premier League in recent years.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Chester, qualifies for Wales having spent five years of compulsory education in the country.

Coleman was looking to recruit the Stoke centre-back to boost Wales' chances of qualifying for Brazil 2014, but the defender has his heart set on wearing the Three Lions of England instead.

"I went up to Stoke City this week and I spoke to Ryan," the Wales manager said.

"I had a good conversation with him and he was very honest - his dream is to play for England.

"He is a good player and we want as many good players available to us as we can so it was disappointing, but I understood his reasons and I really hope he gets his dream of winning an England cap."

The news that Shawcross has snubbed Wales will come as a relief to many, as his call-up to the Welsh team could have caused conflict within the camp because of the history between himself and Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey's leg was broken in six places in 2010 after a tackle by Shawcross, and even though the Stoke man apologised, the Arsenal midfielder's attitude towards the defender's possible inclusion in the national set-up was lukewarm at best.

Shawcross is not the only person to recently turn down the offer of playing for Wales in the country's World Cup qualifying campaign.

Coleman approached Cardiff defender Ben Turner, who qualifies to play for Wales through his grandmother, but he also wants to pursue his dream of playing for England.

"Ben also sees himself as English," said Coleman, who was speaking at the Vauxhall Road to Brazil 2014 media conference in London.

"I have known him a long time ever since he was a young centre back at Coventry, but there is no further conversation to have there.

"Both avenues have been closed off so we have moved on."

Chris Coleman
Chris Coleman spoke to the press on Friday at the Vauxhall Road to Brazil 2014 media conference. Credit: PA

Despite missing out on Shawcross and Turner, Coleman is sure he has a side capable of qualifying for their first major championship since 1976.

Coleman has lost both games since he took charge in January and he also faces a tall order to qualify for Brazil from a group that contains Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Macedonia and Scotland.

The Welsh do have two of the best midfielders in the English top-flight, however, in the form of Ramsey and Tottenham winger Gareth Bale.

Some have dubbed the current Welsh crop as the country's "golden generation", but Coleman says his squad will only be able to accept that moniker if they end the country's 36-year wait to qualify for a major competition.

"It could be (a golden generation), but football is full of ifs, buts, coulds and maybes and they don't count for anything unless we go and achieve," he said.

"England had a golden crop going in to the Germany World Cup (in 2006) and it never happened. They never produced so we can talk all we like, but only if we qualify can we then say that this is the golden crop."

Coleman, whose first two qualifying games come against Belgium and Serbia next month, believes Wales will go on to qualify for several more tournaments should they make Brazil 2014.

"If we do it once I believe we will do it again, quick, because we will have momentum and belief," said Coleman, who won 32 Wales caps between 1992 and 2002.

"Once we get over that psychological barrier we will be able to go on.

"Unfortunately as a player we just missed out on the USA World Cup under Terry Yorath and under Mark Hughes we lost over two legs to Russia (in a playoff) so we have come close but have never done it.

"The longer that goes on the bigger effect it will have on us psychologically so we have to stop that."