Zlatan Ibrahimovic has given several defenders nightmares over the years, and now of those to be on the receiving end of an Ibra masterclass has admitted it ended his international career.
Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross hasn’t played for England since 2012, when he made a 17-minute cameo against Sweden.
England led 2-1 when Shawcross came on in the 73rd minute. They ended up losing 4-2, with Ibrahomivc scoring three goals after the centre-back arrived.
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If Shawcross could forget the game was ever played, he surely would.
Yet he can’t. His family won’t let him.
“I’m the butt of the joke in my family, just because the 10 minutes I had in international football was ruined by one man,” Shawcross told the Telegraph.
“They are consistently saying that Zlatan ruined my career! I had a chance and I don't think many other defenders have stopped him.
“I was given 10 minutes to show what I could do and probably didn't provide a good enough performance. I was against one of the best strikers in the world who was on a hot streak at the time and these things happen.”
Shawcross has been shunned
As crazy as it seems, Shawcross is probably correct. He has proven time and again that he good enough to play at the heart of England’s defence, and it’s not as if defenders of Gerard Pique’s talent are keeping him out of the side.
Roy Hodgson has selected the likes of Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott over the Stoke man, and Shawcross reckons the only way he can continue his international career is if Hodgson is replaced.
“I’ve been playing well for the last three or four years and I don't seem to be getting in so I can't see it changing in the future unless the manager changes.
“It's just the way football is, some managers like players that others don't. At the moment it's either that he doesn't think I'm up to it or the lads he's picking are better than me. That's fine. Is that unfair? Yes, but it's a ruthless game.”
England might look back at Shawcross’ career and wonder why he has only made one appearance.
He didn’t endear himself to anyone with a horrific tackle on Aaron Ramsey in 2010 that left the Welshman with a double leg break.
Yet his talent is clear for all to see. Unfortunately, a 17-minute cameo and a clinic from Zlatan has had a major impact on his international career.