Former Stoke skipper Shawcross calls time on career after season-ending injury

Former Stoke captain and England centre-back, Ryan Shawcross, has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 34.

Shawcross sustained a season-ending back injury playing for David Beckham’s Inter Miami in August and has decided to call time on his 16-year playing career.

“Despite stepping out of my playing career due to injury, my passion for the game is still intact, and after having secured my coaching licences, I am looking forward to pursuing a career in coaching,” Shawcross, who made more than 400 appearances for Stoke having joined them from Manchester United in January 2008 after a previous loan spell, told

“I would like to thank the whole Inter Miami CF organisation and fan base for the opportunity they’ve provided me to come here, I would also like to thank the Stoke City fans for their support.

“Last but not least, thank my wife and my kids for being a pillar throughout my life.”

Shawcross’ sole England cap came in a 4-2 friendly loss in Sweden in 2012. It was a game remembered for Zlatan scoring all four goals for the home side, including a stunning overhead kick from fully 30 yards.

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Meanwhile, Stoke are set to land Manchester City youngster Taylor Harwood-Bellis on loan until the end of the season, per a report.

Harwood-Bellis spent the first half of this season in the Belgian Pro League. The youngster linked up with Manchester City Legend Vincent Kompany, playing 19 times for RSC Anderlecht. However, he hasn’t featured in their last four games for the Purple and White.

According to Football Insider, Harwood-Bellis is now returning to England for a medical ahead of a move to the Potters.

It will be the second loan move in as many years after spending last season with Blackburn Rovers. Already boasting Championship experience, he made 19 appearances for the Lancashire outfit last season.

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He recently signed a new deal with Manchester City, extending to 2024. The Premier League champions are keen to get Harwood-Bellis valuable first-team football.

Stoke seem ready to provide that chance and bolster their defensive options.

Despite the reports linking Harwood-Bellis, manager Michael O’Neill is adamant nothing is imminent.

Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, he said: “No, nothing’s imminent

“The players that I’m linked with certainly aren’t in our price range.

“We’ve spoken to some players and their agents and those players are looking for financial situations which are out from where we are at this minute in time.

“January is a short-term market as well. We need one or two players to move the other way to free up some finances.

“We obviously have a lot of players out with injury. Mario Vrancic has also suffered a hamstring injury, which is a big blow.”