Saturday, 17 March 2012

Shawcross Will Not Be Conned by Liverpool's Suarez

Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross claims he is too smart to get conned by Luis Suarez.

Shawcross is all too aware of the Liverpool striker's reputation for going to ground too easily in a bid to win penalties.

And he intends to ensure he is not caught out by Suarez's attempts to indulge in the dark arts of the game in tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final.

He said: ``If you put your toe in it gives him the chance to go over, so as a defender you’ve got to be careful.

``With strikers, if you know they’re going to go down then you have to be more careful.

``You know that before the game so if you’re stupid enough to stick your leg out then they’ll go over it.

``As a defender you have to be a bit more clever and cute.''

Shawcross does not believe the ten goal striker is a serial cheat though, claiming Suarez is no worse than other Premier League frontman in tumbling to the deck.

He added: ``He’s a top player and a lot of top players throughout all the leagues go down quite easily.

``But I don’t think he does it particularly. He’s shown this season what a top player he is, and no-one really mentions the amount of times he gets kicked and stays on his feet.

``What he has though is an ability to beat people one-on-one and get into the spaces that defenders don’t really want to go into.

``He’s proven this season what a top player he is. He’d probably like a couple more goals but he creates them for other players like he did for Steven Gerrard in midweek. He’s one of the top players in the Premier League.''

Gerrard hit a hat-trick in the defeat of Everton on Tuesday and Shawcross concedes he still has a debt of gratitude to the Liverpool captain.

It was Gerrard, who as skipper of England, helped him through a tricky first night on his initial call up to the national squad.

Shawcross was meeting up with country's top talent just a day after his tackle left Aaron Ramsey nursing a horrific broken leg back in February 2010.

Still only 22, the former Manchester United man was feeling vulnerable when Gerrard took him under his wing.

He said: ``He introduced me into the squad and helped me with the meals and getting settled in.

``It was great for me and I do thank him. It made it a much easier transition for me going into the squad for the first time.

``He didn't need to do that but he did. I was honoured he took the time out to make sure I was okay and welcome to the squad.

``He sat next to me at the first meal and made sure I was okay, and he did stuff he didn't have to do. I young at the time so his help was great.''

Shawcross could have been a team-mate of Gerrard's if Liverpool had followed up their interest last season. A suggestion that Manchester United could trump any offer the Reds made put the Anfield mob off a bid.

And the no-nonsense defender has now canned any thoughts of quitting Stoke for a higher-level football experience.

He added: ``Getting into Europe was a big thing for me, it’s something I wanted to do.

``We’ve done that this year and hopefully we’ll do it in the future.

``It’s going to be difficult but it’s something I’ve enjoyed and want to do more in my career.

``Stoke offer me that chance at the moment so I’m very happy.''

The Potters qualified for the Europa League as a result of their losing performance in last season's FA Cup final.

After thumping Bolton 5-0 in the semis, they failed to repeat the heights of that display against Manchester City and sunk to a disappointing 1-0 setback.

Key men Matt Etherington and Robert Huth played with injuries and Tony Pulis' side put up a tame bid to lift the cup.

Now Shawcross and his pals want a return to Wembley to put the record straight.

He remembered: ``It’s something everyone enjoyed and for the city and the fans it was a good experience.

``For most of them it was the first time there and it’s something we want to do again.

``In saying that we’ve got a massive game away against Liverpool which is going to be tough.

``We definitely want to progress but a team like Liverpool should be challenging for the top four so it’s going to be difficult.

``They’ve spent a lot of money and they’re still a top team. They won the Carling Cup and there’s 10 games to go so they could still get fourth spot.''

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