Shawcross to keep armband
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has confirmed Ryan Shawcross will remain captain of Stoke for the new season.
Last Updated: 26/07/11 1:25pm
Stoke manager Tony Pulis has backed Ryan Shawcross to continue to improve after confirming the defender will remain captain of Stoke for the new season.
Shawcross captained the Potters to the FA Cup final last term, earning them a place in the Europa League.
Pulis expects him to grow as a leader over the coming 12 months and feels the additional responsibility could help his chances of playing for England.
The 23-year-old's only previous call-up to the senior Three Lions squad came around 18 months ago when he was an unused substitute against Egypt, but Pulis would love to see him at Euro 2012 next summer.
"I'm giving him the captaincy back and I'm hoping he picks up the baton again and continues getting better every year," Pulis told The Sentinel.
"It's a great honour for him and one he took on board when he was made captain last year.
"He's got a long way to go still and understands that himself, but he has to come out of himself a bit more as he continues to grow as a footballer and a man.
"The big thing with Ryan is that he's got that carrot dangling in front of him in the shape of the European Championships next year.
"If he has a top, top season with us, there's no reason why he can't get into the England squad in time for that.
"Having (new Stoke signing and former England defender) Jonathan Woodgate around can only help him in that direction too."
Shawcross declared earlier this week that he had rejected the chance to play for Wales as he was committed to pushing for an England call.