RYAN Shawcross has been defended by Stoke City after Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger launched an attack on the Flintshire star.
The Frenchman accused the 21-year-old from Buckley, along with his Potters team-mate Rory Delap, of deliberately trying to injure his players in their 2-1 Premier League defeat at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
Wenger was seething after a Shawcross tackle on Emmanuel Adebayor and a Delap challenge on Theo Walcott left him without the strikers for Wednesday’s goalless Champions League draw at home to Fenerbahce.
He said: “I read that my team were not brave, but all I can say is they are brave and, for me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know someone is tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball.
“The one who is tackling is not the brave one. For me, the brave one is the player who is trying to play football.
“Do you think Delap tried to play the ball when he tackled Walcott? Or that Shawcross tried to play the ball when he tackled Adebayor off the pitch? All the players have been injured deliberately.”
But Stoke boss Tony Pulis leapt to the defence of England Under 21 international defender Shawcross, who set up his side’s crucial second goal, and Ireland midfielder Delap.
Welshman Pulis reminded Wenger that it was Adebayor who was booked for a chest-high tackle on Shawcross and that it was his team who had the only player, Robin van Persie, sent off in the fiery affair.