Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross joked his England career was ended by Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimovic before it even started.
Shawcross has not played for England since Ibrahimovic’s memorable four-goal haul in a 4-2 win in November 2012.
The 28-year-old defender earned his one and only cap on that remarkable night in Stockholm and while he made just a 16-minute cameo off the bench, it seemingly shaped his international career.
Shawcross came off the bench and watched helplessly as Ibrahimovic scored three goals in 12 minutes, including a stunning long-range bicycle kick, despite the former’s last-ditch effort on the line.
It is a match that lives long in the memory, with Shawcross not expecting an England recall, at least not while manager Roy Hodgson is in charge.
“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.”
Of his international exile despite being one of Stoke’s most consistent performers in the Premier League, Shawcross added: “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. You do find that the lads who move to the bigger clubs get more recognition. They play in Europe and there’s a lot more prestige around them.
“But my performances on the pitch for Stoke have been good enough to get in the England team and so far the call hasn’t come.”