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Page last updated at 07:41 GMT, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 08:41 UK

Ryan Shawcross proud to lead out Stoke City at Wembley

Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross celebrates his goal against Brighton
Shawcross (r) celebrates his goal in the FA Cup fifth-round win over Brighton

Ryan Shawcross has said it will be a proud moment to be captain of Stoke City for their FA Cup semi-final against Bolton at Wembley on Sunday.

The 23-year-old defender was handed the armband at the start of the campaign.

"It was something I wasn't expecting so early in my career but I'm delighted to be captain," he told BBC Radio Stoke.

"It's great to be leading them out in a semi-final at Wembley. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully we can get to the final so I can do it again."

Shawcross permanently replaced Abdoulaye Faye as Stoke skipper in the summer, having previously taken the role when the Senegal international was absent from the team.

"I've just carried on what I've been doing in the seasons before," he continued.

"I've never been the loudest off the pitch, but on the pitch I've been talking a lot more which has hopefully added to my game."

Stoke have never reached the FA Cup final in their 138-year history and have not appeared in the last four of the competition since 1972.

"It's going to be a good game and hopefully a game that we win," added Shawcross, who scored his only goal of the season in the fifth-round victory over Brighton.

"We know it's going to be difficult but we've got to treat it like any other game."

The former Manchester United trainee joined Stoke as a teenager in August 2007 and was part of the team that won promotion to the Premier League nine months later.

He also received a call-up to the full England squad in March 2010 and Shawcross has paid tribute to Tony Pulis for the help he has received from the Stoke manager during his time at the Britannia Stadium.

"On a personal note, I don't think I would have done half of what I've done without his help," said Shawcross.

"He took a risk on me at the start and he took a risk by giving me the captaincy, but he's always shown great belief in me.

"As a team, I don't think we would have got as far as we've got without him.

"He's probably one of the best Stoke managers there's been. He's been fantastic for the area and for the club."



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