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Pulis: Shawcross should play for Wales

Shawcross should cross the border, says Pulis. Credit: PA

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross has been urged by former manager Tony Pulis to switch his international allegiance and play for Wales.

The centre-back has made just one appearance for England in the 4-2 defeat to Sweden, but as that was only a friendly he is still eligible to represent the country for whom he played as a schoolboy.

Shawcross has always maintained he has no interest in switching, but Welshman Pulis believes the 27-year-old should realistically consider the move if he wants to play international football.

I'm convinced he should be in the England squad and if that's not going to happen then my attentions would be turned to crossing the border.

If England don't think he's good enough, Wales certainly do. I know that for a fact.

He would be joining a Wales team with a genuine chance of qualifying for Euro 2016, so there's some big games to be had if he made that choice.

I still think his best years are ahead of him. I'd be disappointed if Ryan thinks he's reached the top of his performance levels because he has still to reach his peak and should become better over the next four or five years.

– Former Stoke boss Tony Pulis

Derby extend Butland loan deal

Jack Butland. Credit: PA

Derby have extended the loan spell of Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Butland's initial stay with the Championship club was due to expire this week, but the England Under-21 international will now remain at the iPro Stadium for another seven days while Rams number one Lee Grant completes his recovery from an ankle injury.

The 21-year-old was brought in as cover for Grant after he was injured against Reading in October. Grant has missed six matches and it is still unclear whether he will be fit for Saturday's league trip to Watford.

Butland has made five appearances for Derby, keeping two clean sheets and helping the side to three wins along the way.


Stoke striker Crouch back for trip to former club Spurs

Peter Crouch. Credit: PA

Stoke have Peter Crouch, Phil Bardsley and Marc Muniesa back available for Sunday's Premier League away clash with Tottenham, while Marko Arnautovic remains in line to feature despite breaking his hand.

Ex-Spurs man Crouch and Bardsley sat out the 2-2 home draw with West Ham last Saturday due to suspensions, while Muniesa was nursing an ankle problem.

Although Arnautovic is not expected to be kept out by the injury he suffered in training earlier this week, the same cannot be said of Dionatan Teixeira, who broke his foot on the same day and has joined Robert Huth (calf), Glenn Whelan (broken leg) and and Peter Odemwingie (knee) on the sidelines.

Provisional Stoke squad: Begovic, Sorensen, Wilson, Shawcross, Pieters, Cameron, Muniesa, Bardsley, Nzonzi, Adam, Sidwell, Ireland, Walters, Arnautovic, Bojan, Assaidi, Moses, Diouf, Crouch.


Stoke change Shawcross role

Mark Bowen has revealed Stoke have changed their tactics for defending set-pieces over concerns that Ryan Shawcross is being singled out by referees.

The Potters' skipper gave away a penalty in the 2-1 win over Swansea earlier this month for grappling with Wilfried Bony and is now being deployed as a zonal defender.

The difficult thing for Ryan, in Saturday's game we tried to pull him out of the spotlight.

Instead of him actually marking from a corner, we put him in an area where he could just go and attack the ball, which is not his game, he's not been brought up on that.

It comes to something when you've got to try to change your system of marking around because you're worried that the lad is getting targeted.

– Mark Bowen
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