RYAN SHAWCROSS reported for international duty today . . . with his sights firmly fixed on cementing a place in the England squad.
Stoke City's captain intends to make sure that his wait for another England call-up is not as long after a lapse of two-and-half years since he first gained this recognition from Fabio Capello for a friendly against Eqypt back in February 2010.
Shawcross set off for the FA's new training headquarters at St George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent after playing an influential part in his side shutting out Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday afternoon to earn the Potters a well-deserved point.
"It will be a great experience for me," he told Stoke City Player. "Obviously, I have been in the squad before, but now I want to cement my place.
"There are a lot of good players in and around the squad, but hopefully if I can go there and do well, I will be able to stay in the squad."
Shawcross praised the Club and, in particular, Chairman Peter Coates and Manager Tony Pulis for helping him to achieve his ambition.
"The Club have been fantastic to me," said the defender who heard of his recall on his 25th birthday. "They've given me a platform to perform on.
"The Chairman and the gaffer have done great jobs to ensure this Club has kept progressing each year and that has given me the platform to showcase my talents on a bigger stage. I wouldn't be where I am now without all that."
Shawcross gained a lot of satisfaction from being part of a City side which secured a second successive goalless draw in the Premier League at Anfield following the stalemate when the two sides met there back in January.
"To come away with a point against a team that has just won 5-2 is a great result," he said in reflecting on the Liverpool result.
"I thought both teams defended well, but we came here and had a go, and in some respects we were unlucky not to get all three points."
He added: "It was tough keeping Suarez quiet; he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League, if not the world, and he has shown in recent weeks how good he is.
"I thought Huthy and I did alright. We went through a lot of videos of him during the week to help deal with the threat because of his trickery.
"We worked very hard in training on cutting down the space and not giving them time on the ball, which enabled us to limit the number of chances."