MARK HUGHES today expressed his surprise at Roy Hodgson's decision to overlook Ryan Shawcross for the England squad to face Denmark next week.
The Stoke skipper has not been called-up by England since making his international debut as a substitute in a friendly against Sweden 16 months ago.
Hodgson has named a 30-man squad for the Wembley date with the Danes and Hughes is puzzled why Shawcross failed to get the nod.
Speaking ahead of today's Premier League encounter with Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium, Hughes told stokecityfc.com: "I am surprised Ryan hasn't been called up.
"They have had omissions - Phil Jagielka hasn't made the squad this time - and I think Ryan had a decent claim to get in there.
"I'm not sure how many times Roy has seen Ryan play this season, I don't think he has been to the Britannia too many times, but if he had done he would have seen outstanding performances from him.
"He's had a little bit of an issue this week with his groin and hasn't trained a great deal - we've wrapped him in cotton wool to be perfectly honest just to make sure he's ok - but he trained yesterday and once the game comes around we'll ask him to lead us and lead us well.
"Ryan has taken on more responsibility as the season has gone on and that will add to this game. He's still a young man in footballing terms but he's got a lot of experience and that will come to the fore in key games and at key moments in games between now the end of the season.
"I've been delighted with what he's produced for me since I came to the Club and there's no reason in the coming years why he can't keep on pushing at international level because I know he still has ambitions to get back into the fold. If he continues at the same rate, he will get there."