Shawcross’ deal was due to expire this summer but he has decided to cancel his contract early to link up with Phil Neville’s Inter Miami in the MLS.
Ryan Shawcross Ends 14 Year Stay at Stoke City
Captain, Leader, Legend
Shawcross’ journey at Stoke began when signed on a six-month loan from Manchester United at the start of the 2007/08 season. The central defender quickly established himself as a key player in the team and his impressive displays saw him pick up the October player of the month award for The Championship. Such impressive performances in the first half of the season made him a priority signing for Tony Pulis during the January transfer window and Stoke City were able to get a permanent deal for the defender for £1 million.
Shawcross continued to play a pivotal role in Stoke City’s promotion campaign as the Potters reached the top flight for the first time in 23 years. Alongside his impressive defensive displays, Shawcross was able to establish himself as a goalscoring force scoring seven times that campaign. He was subsequently rewarded with a place in the PFA Championship team of the year after a fantastic debut season.
After gaining promotion to the Premier League, the majority of pundits expected Stoke City to go straight back down to the Championship. They had one of the lowest budgets in the Premier League and many felt the majority of their players would be unable to make the jump up to the top flight.
However, Stoke City comfortably defied the odds to survive in the Premier League in their first season back and they finished 12th in 2008/09. The Potters became largely synonymous with being tough to breakdown defensively, particularly at the Brittania Stadium where they were able to pick up the majority of their points. Such home form led to the phrase – “but can he do it on a Tuesday night at Stoke.”
Shawcross Leads Stoke to FA Cup Final and Europa League Campaign
The Potters remained a consistent mid-table team in the two seasons that followed, finishing in 11th in 13th respectively as Pulis continued to sprinkle more quality into the Stoke City side. Shawcross was appointed captain at the start of the 2010/11 season and throughout this period, he formed a solid defensive partnership with German defender Robert Huth. He also helped the Potters to reach the FA Cup final, but they were narrowly beaten by Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley. Despite the defeat, Stoke had earned qualification for the Europa League in the 2011/12 season.
Stoke were once again comfortably ahead of the drop zone in 2011/12, finishing 14th, whilst also reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League. Shawcross’ form for the Potters earned him an England call up in the build-up to Euro 2012. Stoke would continue to be an ever-present in the Premier League under the management of Tony Pulis, and later under Mark Hughes, and never really looked in any danger of being relegated.
Change of managers and a change of philosophy at the club ultimately led to their relegation. Mark Hughes replaced Pulis but was later dismissed before Paul Lambert failed to avoid the drop. Stoke and Shawcross were relegated in 2018 after finishing in 19th position, ending ten years in the Premier League.
In Stoke’s first season back in The Championship, Shawcross remained loyal to the club and continued to be a first-team regular as the Potters struggled at the bottom half of the table, finishing in 16th position. Shawcross suffered a severe injury in 2019, which has ruled him out of the majority of games in the last two seasons. Since 2019, Shawcross has made just seven appearances for Stoke City.
Manager Michael O’Neill praised Shawcross after his departure. Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “He hasn’t figured as often as he would have liked over the past couple of years but his professionalism and the way he has conducted himself, both on the training ground and around the club, since I joined simply cannot be questioned.”
Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes was full of praise for the former captain. He said: “Ryan’s contribution to the club over the last 14 years cannot be overstated. His outstanding leadership and the consistency of his displays made him a talismanic figure for us.”