Ryan Shawcross fears his chances of joining the England squad in South Africa are effectively at an end after "the worst two months of my career".

The Stoke defender returned to the starting line-up for the first time in 10 games in the 0-0 draw against Everton following ankle and foot injuries. Getting back into action was a welcome relief for Shawcross, demonised for his challenge that broke Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey's leg.

"It has faded a bit as I have been out so long. You can never say never but my main aim is to play well for Stoke first of all," he said.

"There is always hope but the manager usually picks on form and fitness and it has been the hardest two month of my career. That might count against me.

"The people who needed to be there were there for me and I thank them for that. I am delighted to be back on the pitch.

Shawcross looked back to his best against Everton after stepping off the bench in the 7-0 humbling by Chelsea.

He added: "I was a bit off the pace against Chelsea, which was not unexpected, but feel much sharper now. I am feeling good and confident."

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