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Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross defended by team-mates

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is stretchered off after suffering a serious injury against Stoke City
Ramsey will be out of action for months after breaking his leg

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross has been defended by his team-mates after his challenge on Aaron Ramsey saw the young Arsenal midfielder suffer a broken leg.

Shawcross, 22, was sent off for the tackle, but Danny Pugh and Rory Delap said he did not mean to hurt Ramsey.

"There was no malicious intent from Ryan, he's not that kind of player," midfielder Pugh told BBC Radio Stoke.

Delap said: "He's a committed player, but he's never going to go into a challenge looking to hurt someone."

He added: "Everyone knew straight away what had happened. The referee [Peter Walton] said it wasn't meant, but because of the injury he had to send Ryan off."

Pugh continued: "No one wants to go out and hurt a fellow professional, Ryan more than most. He's a good lad, he's not a malicious player and he's been unlucky that that's happened."

Shortly after being driven away from the Britannia Stadium by his parents, Shawcross received his first call-up to the full England squad for the friendly against Egypt at Wembley on Wednesday.

Following the challenge there was a lengthy delay while Wales international Ramsey, 19, was treated on the pitch, with players from both sides visibly shaken.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described the tackle by Shawcross as "horrendous" and "not acceptable", but Pugh refuted claims that Stoke are a dirty team.

"I don't think we are, we're fully committed. We don't go out to hurt anyone, we just give 100% in every game," he added.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis told BBC Radio Stoke: "It's an unfortunate injury, it looks a poor challenge, but Ryan Shawcross has not got any bad blood in him whatsoever.

"There's no way in a million years that he would ever, ever go out to hurt a person. He's a lovely kid and he's been exemplary since he's been at this football club. It was breaking his heart coming off the pitch.

"The game drops into insignificance really in respect of the injury. We just wish Ramsey all the best, we hope he recovers quickly. It's a desperately sad blow for Arsenal."

Shawcross, himself, released a statement on the official club website, reading: "There was absolutely no malice in the challenge. I would never, ever go out to hurt a fellow professional.

"I am deeply upset that Aaron has suffered such a bad injury and my thoughts are with him. I would like to send him my best wishes too for a speedy recovery."

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