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Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross has seen his hopes of forcing his way into England’s Euro 2016 squad hit by injury.
The centre-half has been ruled out for up to a month after suffering a back problem in the defeat at Leicester on Saturday.
The 28-year-old missed the start of the season following a back operation although Potter boss Mark Hughes has said his latest setback is not the same issue.
“It is not a recurrence of the injury which required surgery so that is a positive,” said the Welshman. “Unfortunately, the negative is that he has soft muscle damage and at the moment it is looking like it will probably be three to four weeks I would think.”
Shawcross is an outsider for a place in Three Lions chief Roy Hodgson’s squad for the European Championship in France this summer.
The former Manchester United youngster has one cap to his name so far, which came in a friendly against Sweden in November 2012, and he is currently behind the likes of Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Phil Jagielka and John Stones in the pecking order.
He will now miss the midweek Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Stoke must overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg at the Britannia Stadium to make it through to the final at Wembley on February 28.
A Potters win at Anfield is 5.25 while the draw is 3.75 and a Reds win is 1.70.