One to Watch - Ryan Shawcross
Name: Ryan Shawcross
Date of Birth: 4/10/1987
Former Clubs: Man Utd, Royal Antwerp
League Appearances (Goals): 180 (15)
International Appearances (Goals): 0 (0)
Stat of the Day: Since the start of last season, Ryan Shawcross has made more headed clearances than any other player in the Premier League
Player Profile: Sir Alex Ferguson doesn`t often make mistakes, but his decision to let Ryan Shawcross leave for Stoke in 2008 and persevere with Gerard Pique has turned out to be on a par with an all too familiar Gorkss and Bruno Perone fiasco. So much so, Stoke are now trying to tie the defender down to a six-year contract to ward off interest from United who are rumoured to want to re-sign the colossal centre back. Ferguson has openly admitted that had he known Pique was homesick and wanted away, he would have indeed kept Shawcross. If the Englishman`s looks are anything to go by, he certainly fits into Stoke`s footballing ethos and has been an integral part of their rise to Premier League stability. Despite his apparent no nonsense defensive style, Shawcross is more than capable with the football at his feet and having burst into tears after crucifying Aaron Ramsey`s leg he may be suited to a club of United`s stature.
Stoke`s very own immovable object should receive special attention from set-pieces on Saturday, having amassed an impressive 15 goals for The Potters. His imposing aerial threat and great understanding of the game may mean a piece of brilliance from Hoilett and Taarabt may be needed to break through Stoke`s immense defensive wall (no doubt Shaun Wright-Phillips will start ahead of one of them). A call-up to the England squad for their friendly against Sweden is a measure of how highly respected Stoke`s captain is, and having been urged to set his sights on 50 international caps, a player of Shawcross`s class may be the difference between QPR`s first win and another game without three points on Saturday.
Ryan Shawcross was born in Chester and started his professional career at Manchester United having made his way through the youth ranks at Old Trafford. He became an important figure in the Under 17 and 18 sides, eventually making his senior debut in the League Cup in 2006. He was sent on loan to United`s feeder club, Royal Antwerp, in January 2007 where he made 22 league appearances scoring 3 goals.
He returned to Manchester in the summer, but was sent out on loan at the beginning of the following season to Stoke. He scored his first two goals for The Potters in his first two games and Tony Pulis ensured Shawcross was signed permanently as he joined for a club record fee of £2 million in the January transfer window. He helped Stoke to promotion as they finished runners-up at the end of the 2007/2008 season.
He initially lost his place to new signing Ibrahima Sonko at the beginning of the new season, but soon reclaimed his place back and has not looked back since. He has 180 league appearances to his name and despite his horror tackle against Aaron Ramsey in 2010, the centre-back has a long list of admirers and will probably be playing for a top six club sooner rather than later.
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