Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Arsenal have no grudges over injury, says WAlcott

Ryan Shawcross, the Stoke City defender, has been reassured by Theo Walcott that the Arsenal team hold no grudges or ill-feeling after his challenge last weekend broke the leg of Aaron Ramsey.

Shawcross (22) wept at the sight of Ramsey's broken tibia and fibula, and has apologised for the incident.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, described the tackle as “unacceptable” after the game, but Walcott said the players have since accepted that it was a mistake.

Walcott and Shawcross met up on England duty this week and spoke about the shocking injury.

Walcott said: “He's a very humble lad. He's a great defender. Obviously he knows what's happened and feels very bad. He's apologised. He's not a player to do those sort of tackles. He'll put his head down and work very hard for club and country. Any hard feelings? No, not at all.”

Ramsey's surgery has gone well and doctors are confident he will play again.

Wenger said: “It is not a career-threatening injury. But it is two breaks and to get back to your best you need not only to practice again but you need time to recover your co-ordination.

“He is a young boy and he will recover from this but it is a bad injury. This gives us one more reason to fight (for the title) until the end. We want to do it for him.”

Shawcross, an unused substitute in England's 3-1 win over Egypt on Wednesday night, has sent text messages to Ramsey to apologise and enquire after his health. Yet the Stoke defender

vowed he will not change his style of play in light of Ramsey's injury.

“Whenever I play for Stoke I am 100 per cent committed and that will be the same as ever when I next play,” he said.

“Hopefully, when I am back from suspension, I can do well again. The fans and a lot of people around me have been fantastic in their support over the past few days.”

The incident appears to have pulled both clubs together, in a somewhat surprising way.

Stoke have promised to remain in contact with Ramsey throughout his recovery, while Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said Shawcross had received around 300 emails from Arsenal fans who expressed sympathy for the young defender.

“Ryan has had nigh on 300 emails from Arsenal supporters sympathising with him and his reaction coming off the pitch. That's absolutely fantastic. The attitude of the Arsenal supporters has been brilliant,” Pulis said.

Pulis, whose side visit Chelsea on Sunday in an FA Cup quarter-final, denied accusations that his team go out to kick the opposition.

“People said we tried to out-muscle Arsenal — if you look at the three games we've played them this year we haven't had a booking,” he said.

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