Shawcross deserves respect - Neville

  • Last Updated: October 9 2012, 7:41 BST

England coach Gary Neville believes Ryan Shawcross should be recognised for his footballing talent and not just his physicality.

Ryan Shawcross: Deserves respect, says Neville

Selected by Fabio Capello in his squad for the friendly with Egypt in March 2010, Shawcross failed to get a look-in, and has not been seen in England colours since.

He was part of the group that met up at St George's Park on Monday afternoon, though, as Roy Hodgson's charges get ready for their World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley on Friday night.

There are still those who dismiss the Stoke skipper as little more than a hard man in one of the Barclays Premier League's most physically imposing teams.

However, speaking at a children's coaching clinic at St George's Park as part of the Football Association and McDonald's Community Awards programme, Neville said: "I don't go along with the way in which people look at Stoke players.

"They are physical and they are aggressive but they also have a lot of quality.

"I have seen Ryan Shawcross play since he was 16. Coming through the Manchester United system, I know he has been brought up in the correct manner.

"He is a good football player and deserves respect for that.

"He is a great story and the fact he is in the England squad this week is something I am proud of."

Like all the other fringe players in Hodgson's squad - including Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey, who was called up for the first time on Monday afternoon along with Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand after Kieran Gibbs was forced to pull out with a thigh injury - Shawcross will hope England opt for an experimental side against San Marino, officially the world's joint worst team.

Skipper Steven Gerrard and Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson are ruled out through suspension, while any player carrying a slight knock will not be risked either, given a far more testing trip to Poland is looming next Tuesday.

That includes Ashley Cole, who is eligible to make his 99th appearance despite being landed with an FA charge over his ill-advised comments on Twitter last Friday.

Cole has until Thursday to respond and if found guilty is likely to be hit with a fine, with FA sources insisting no pressure will be applied to Hodgson over the 31-year-old facing San Marino, with that issue determined purely by the coach's team selection.

:: Neville was speaking at St George's Park ahead of Friday's FA Community National Awards Ceremony, presented by McDonald's. To find out more about the awards and this year's winners visit