Shawcross out to prove worth
Ryan Shawcross will go into Sunday's match with Arsenal determined to prove that there is more to his game than roughing up the opposition. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger criticised Stoke's methods following his side's 2-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium in November, with Shawcross singled out by the Frenchman. The 21-year-old was accused of deliberately setting out to injure Gunners players by Wenger, a charge he strongly refuted at the time. But with Premier League safety now secured the former Manchester United trainee has urged his team-mates to showcase their talents and prove that there is more to their game than long throws and physicality when they visit the Emirates this weekend. "It is not nice when someone calls you a cheat, a bully or a thug," he said. "I have only had a couple of yellow cards this season and so I cannot be that much of a dirty player." Wenger was particularly upset with a Shawcross challenge that resulted in Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor limping off in the 73rd minute, but the centre-half maintains there was no malice involved. Prove his talents"It was not that bad a challenge against Arsenal that day and people forget Adebayor's challenge on me," he added. "I will just go down there (the Emirates) and try to prove I am a good player and, like everybody else, try to play well in front of a good team." Despite still having Arsenal to play before minds can truly start to wander towards next season, Shawcross admits that he has already thought about the challenges that lie in store next term. "We have all got to be looking over our shoulders," he admitted. "Players coming into the team this season have already shown that if you are not performing then others can come in and do a great job instead. "Next season we have all got to be raring to go from the start if we want to get in the team and keep our places."
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