Ryan Shawcross has been a mainstay at the back for Stoke City over the past six Premier League seasons but, despite his best efforts, the Potters captain still has just the one senior England cap to his name.
The 26-year-old has been consistently overlooked by Roy Hodgson since making his debut in a friendly against Sweden in November 2012 and, while manager Mark Hughes continues to champion his cause, there was yet more disappointment when the recent squad for the games against Norway and Switzerland was announced.
However, when comparing the former Manchester United prospect’s stats so far this season to the other centre-backs called up earlier this month, there are clear grounds to suggest that he can feel aggrieved about his absence.
|2014-15||Team||Outfielder Block||Won Tackle||Effective Clearance||Effective Head Clearance||Duel Lost||Duel Won||Aerial Lost||Aerial Won||Apps||Mins|
|Phil Jones||Man Utd||1||10||18||9||10||22||2||6||3||270|
Shawcross is currently joint-second in the Premier League in outfield blocks, while he also leads the top-flight in effective clearances by five more than his nearest rivals.
Furthermore, the towering defender sits joint-first in effective headed clearances, proving he not only compares favourably to the likes of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka but also to the top foreigners in the division - and that's before even taking into account the stat which truly sets him apart from the rest of the pack.
Of every outfield player in the league who has contested more than one duel, Shawcross tops them all with an impressive 91.30% success rate - with Chris Smalling and Maya Yoshida coming closest to matching him with 83.3%, having both won 15 of their 18 duels.
After witnessing England's back-line struggles at the World Cup this summer, it therefore seems strange that Hodgson wouldn't introduce one of the Premier League's top defensive performers into the squad.
The inclusion of Calum Chambers is understandable if the Three Lions boss is looking to the future but, at 26, Shawcross is arguably yet to even hit his prime, and one has to wonder whether he might have received more attention had he been playing for one of the so-called bigger sides.
While Gary Cahill is firmly entrenched in the lineup going forward, who partners him throughout the duration of Euro 2016 qualifying is still open debate and, looking at the stats, the Stoke stalwart clearly deserves to be given a fair chance to stake his claim.