AS STOKE CITY’s most experienced international, Thomas Sorensen is well-placed to offer Ryan Shawcross advice . . . and says the Potters’ skipper should grab his England chance with both hands.
The 25-year-old defender is currently training with the squad as they prepare for their vital forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
Sorensen, who announced his retirement from Denmark duty in the summer after earning 101 caps across 13 years, says Shawcross’ form merits his selection and offered him his best wishes.
“We all wished him good luck," he smiled. "We’re all happy for him, and I know how much it means and I’m sure it means as much to him as it did to me - he needs to enjoy it, but make the most of it.
“It’s a great honour to be picked for your country, and I think he deserves it. He’s been playing ever so well in all the time that I’ve been here.
“He just needs to stick his head out when he’s there! He’s a bit of a quiet guy, so he just needs to put his mark on it and show people that he wants it, and if he gets the chance, take it."
The 36-year-old stopper has witnessed first-hand Shawcross’ growth into a top quality Premier League defender, and believes he has all the attributes required to be a success at international level.
“He’s very consistent, and I think that’s what you want from a defender,” he added.
“He’s maybe not glamorous, like Daniel Agger for example, but he reads the game so well and he always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
“As a goalkeeper, that’s what you want from your defenders – to be there and do their job, and he’s been doing that.”
Sorensen’s native country are also in action against Bulgaria and Italy, and he admits that he finds it tough to watch having been involved for so many years – though he has no regrets about calling it a day.
“Obviously it kills me a bit when I see Denmark on the television! It’s been such a big part of my life, but I’m happy with my decision and I’ve got no doubts about it.
“I could have gone on, and it was a tough decision – it wasn’t something I decided over a couple of hours, it took me the whole summer. You look at the pros and cons, and I just found that to get the best out of the rest of my career, I needed to do it.”