Shawcross keeps his focus
Ryan Shawcross can not wait to lead Stoke out at Wembley on Sunday - but says winning will be even better.
Last Updated: 17/04/11 10:35am
Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross can not wait to lead the Potters out at Wembley on Sunday - but says winning will be even better.
The 23-year-old will lead Stoke out to face Bolton in the FA Cup semi final with a final place up for grabs against Manchester City next month.
The occasion caps off a momentous week for the skipper, whose wife also gave birth to a baby daughter, but Shawcross is keeping his focus.
He told the club's official website: "It will be an absolutely incredible moment for me.
"But I want to do it again in May. That is more important to me, and I'm sure it will be for all of the other lads. As a player you want to feature in big matches, and this is huge, but an FA Cup Final would be a dream and we are determined to get there.
"I feel honoured to captain this team and when the manager handed me the captaincy it was the proudest moment of my life.
"If I lead the team out on Sunday that will be right up there too, but if we can overcome a very good Bolton team then it will be even sweeter to lead the team out in the final."
Shawcross joined the Potters from Manchester United in January 2008 and has been linked back with the club after showing great form at the Britannia.
He told The People: "It's flattering to be linked to these clubs, but I hope Stoke can fulfil my ambitions. I want to get into the England squad for the Euros.
"There might be a time when I decide to move but I'm very happy here."
The defender says he does not regret leaving the Red Devils in order to get regular first team football.
He told the News of the World: "I could have stayed at United, that would have been the easy option.
"I was offered a contract at 19 which would have given me a comfortable life, but I didn't want to play three Carling Cup games and sit on the bench the rest of the time.
"I wanted to play for England and to do that I needed to be playing regularly.
"At United I grew up with Jonny Evans and he was always ahead of me.
"In the year above me there was Gerard Pique and he's done alright for himself (at Barcelona). I knew before I hit 19 that I had to get out of there."
He has bounced back after he broke Aaron Ramsey's leg in a game against Arsenal in February 2010.
"I haven't changed the way I play since the incident. In fact, I'm a stronger person," he said.
"People who didn't know anything about me judged me within seconds of what happened.
"But I just hope at the end of my career I won't be remembered just for that one tackle."
Despite wanting to leave Old Trafford to gain regular football, Shawcross is grateful for the way United nurtured his talent.
"I learned the game at Manchester United from when I was ten and, yes, the importance of winning was drilled into me," he said.
"They wanted me to be composed and to bring the ball out of defence. I was certainly never brought up to go out and smash other players.
"They would be stupid to teach that in the modern game. You can't get away with anything these days because the referees are strict and that's for the good of the sport."