Time served, Shawcross heads back into the fray

On the eve of his first game after the tackle that inflicted a horror injury on Arsenal youngster Aaron Ramsey, Ryan Shawcross has revealed his gratitude over the support he received in the aftermath of the incident, but says his attempts to contact the Welshman have so far been shunned.

Ramsey, a Welsh international, faces nine months on the sidelines and has begun an extensive rehabilitation after becoming the third Arsenal player in four years to suffer a serious injury. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was heavily critical of Shawcross after seeing both Abou Diaby and Eduardo stricken due to terrible challenges in previous seasons. The Frenchman has refused to retract his original damning verdict when he described the young defender’s tackle as “horrendous and “unacceptable” despite having time to reflect on a challenge which was deemed as being awkward rather than being malicious by most fans and experts.

The Stoke City defender said his attempts to get in touch with the young Gunner after breaking his tibia and fibula in their match against Arsenal on February 27 have yet to be met with a response. According to The Guardian, Shawcross has added he is not upset that Ramsey is yet to reply to any of his messages, and is instead concentrating on his own road to recovery following a minor ankle injury. Shawcross said: “I have made efforts, I’ve left him messages and a text, and nothing has been returned but that’s up to Aaron. Will I see him? I might do in the future but it’s totally up to Aaron. I haven’t spoken to him. It’s up to him whether he gets back to me, there is a lot of emotion going on and he’s probably trying to concentrate on having his rehab done and that’s fair enough.

The former Manchester United player was adamant that he is innocent of any malice by saying: “I just got there a tiny bit late and missed the ball and this is when injuries happen. It probably happens five or six times in a game and some people never get injured. If I knew I had gone out to hurt somebody then obviously I would have sleepless nights, but I know I went out not trying to harm anyone. I think if you ask any professional playing football, he doesn’t go out to injure another player.” Shawcross has appreciated all the support he has been shown following the incident by managers, players and fans alike. The 22-year-old has revealed that apart from his own manager Tony Pulis he had received a text from Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and a personal call from Sir Alex Ferguson in support of him. The Englishman looked mortified and left the pitch in tears after his red card following the challenge and he said to be touched after receiving support from the Arsenal fans.

According to Pulis: “Ryan has had nigh on 300 emails from Arsenal supporters sympathising with him and expressing their respect for his reaction coming off the pitch,” said the Stoke boss, adding: “I think that’s absolutely fantastic when people are getting slaughtered at times. The attitude of the Arsenal supporters has been brilliant.” Shawcross is adamant that he will not be changing his style because of what has happened, despite Martin Taylor, who broke Eduardo’s leg whilst playing for Birmingham City in February 2009, speaking out about the psychological effects of injuring an opponent so badly. Shawcross said: “What happened will not be a factor when I next play again for Stoke. Whenever I pull on the Stoke shirt I have to be 100% committed and the same as ever. Hopefully, when I am back from the suspension, I can do well again.” Shawcross is currently recovering from a minor ankle injury and Stoke City will hope that he is back in action for their game against Tottenham at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

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