THE game’s biggest names have rallied around Ryan Shawcross in a bid to lift the England new boy’s spirits.
Fabio Capello, Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson have offered words of support to Chester-born Shawcross after he was sent-off for a tackle on Saturday that left Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey with a broken leg.
Stoke City centre-back Shawcross left the field in tears and his mental state would not have been helped by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s comments that the mistimed but not malicious challenge was “horrendous” and “not acceptable”.
The devastated 22-year-old had to be driven away from the Britannia Stadium by his parents – but better news was to follow later that night when he was called into the England squad for the first time.
Shawcross’ selection for last night’s international friendly against Egypt at Wembley – which took place after The Chronicle went to press – is reward for the superb form he has shown for Stoke since signing from Manchester United in January 2008.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson never wanted to lose Shawcross – and he broke off from celebrating his team’s Carling Cup victory over Aston Villa at Wembley to speak to his former player.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis said: “These things do happen, unfortunately, and Sir Alex still thinks a lot of Ryan. He knows he is not the sort of player to go out to deliberately hurt anyone. Ryan really appreciated the call and it’s given him a lift at a very difficult time.”
Shawcross, who was brought up in Buckley and like Michael Owen before him starred for Flintshire Schoolboys, was also given a warm welcome by United superstar and former team-mate Wayne Rooney when he joined up with England this week.
Rooney said: “It was a very unfortunate incident, but Ryan has got to move on now. Obviously he was very upset after the game, but I was with him at Manchester United for two years and he is not that type of player.”
England boss Capello added: “The tackle was a really strong tackle, but not to break the leg of the other player. I spoke twice to Shawcross and I am happy that he stays here and I think that to stay with us helps him forget what happened.”