Ryan Shawcross still hopes for England chance

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The Independent Online

The Wales manager, Chris Coleman, revealed yesterday that Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross has rejected attempts to persuade him to play international football for Wales.

The decision by Coleman to approach Shawcross was regarded as controversial in some quarters, given his leg-breaking challenge on current Wales captain Aaron Ramsey in February 2010, as well as the fact that he was selected for an England squad by Fabio Capello that same year.

Coleman said: "It's not going to be a runner. I took a trip up to Stoke in the week to meet Ryan and had a conversation with him. I also spoke to [Stoke manager] Tony Pulis, who was absolutely brilliant, as was everybody at Stoke.

"Ryan still sees himself as having a chance of playing for England. He's played for the Under-21s and he thinks he can play for the senior team. It was a nice conversation. He's a very honest boy and is a good player. He's made his choice and I wish him luck and hope he fulfils his dream.

"There are other options. We don't want to water Wales down too much and make it a lottery. But we still want to improve what we've got. I want to push our current players whether it be defenders, midfielders or strikers harder. The bigger the pool of players we've got, the better quality we will have."

Shawcross qualified to play for Wales through spending five years there as a schoolboy during which he represented Welsh schools. Earlier Roy Hodgson had said that he hoped Shawcross would "have the confidence to say: "I'm going to fight for a place [with England]". Hodgson said that his scouts had watched Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster but suggested it was unlikely he would be in next week's squad for the first two World Cup qualifiers.

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