Belfast Telegraph

Shotton backs Woodgate for England

Goal hero Ryan Shotton has hailed the impact of Jonathan Woodgate at Stoke and believes the central defender could regain his England spot if he retains his current form and fitness.

Woodgate made the move to the Potters this summer after an injury-plagued spell at Tottenham and produced another rock-solid performance during Sunday's 1-0 win at West Brom. Shotton came off the bench to score a last-gasp goal courtesy of a mix-up between Ben Foster and Gabriel Tamas but was quick to praise the contribution of Woodgate.

He said: "You take a chance on player who has not had the best of luck with injuries and that's what he gives you. You know he is one of the top defenders in the country. That's why he has played for Real Madrid and England."

He added: "You can't ask any more from him. He has done brilliantly and I'm sure he will do it all season long. He is a massive influence in the dressing room, a voice to be heard all the time, before the game lifting everyone, reminding everyone what they are doing, your jobs, and that's what you need."

When asked if Woodgate could earn an England comeback, Shotton said: "Yes, I can't see why not; massively. Jonathan and Ryan Shawcross are going to help each other. If they can both be in England squad, it will be brilliant for Stoke City and England as well."

Shotton currently has more modest ambitions such as attaining regular first-team football and he has been linked with a loan or permanent move away from Stoke. But he would prefer to remain with the club he joined as a schoolboy after scoring his first Barclays Premier League goal at the Hawthorns.

"I'm here, playing for Stoke, that's all I keep telling people," he said. "If I'm playing, I'm happy.

"That's all I want to do, play football. If it is not at Stoke the next couple of months, then maybe I do have to go out on loan.

"People have told me bids have been put in for me but at the moment we haven't spoken about anything so we will see what happens.

"It's my local club, I've been here since I was nine, 10 years old so who would want to leave?"


From Belfast Telegraph