Ryan Shawcross is a well-known face on the pitch in England. He showed his qualities the most in Stoke City, and as a youth he played in Manchester United. In a conversation with worldfootballindex.com, Ryan talked about his career, but the first topic was Manchester United “It was a great learning experience for me because at the time I was coming through Manchester United were the best team in England.
“I joined the academy at the age of nine and it was an honour to join the club. Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton welcomed me to the club at that age which was incredible. It gave me and my family a great first impression of the club that two iconic figures of the club would welcome me at that age.
I loved every minute of progressing through each of the youth teams with top coaches. Manchester United was a great place to develop as a footballer and as a person too. They nurture you at the club and all of the small details are taken care of to ensure that they can consistently produce professional footballers who can play at Manchester United or elsewhere in the footballing pyramid”.
Shawcross also recalled his debut against Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup. It's a big moment for every player. “I remember playing right-back which was unusual for me as I think I had only ever played there on a handful of occasions in the academy.
It was a big moment for me and my family because as a youngster, you don’t know if you will ever have an opportunity with the first team. Sure, that night at Crewe and my other first-team appearances was a cameo but just to have the opportunity to play for the team that I support under a manager such as Sir Alex was amazing.
It was just unfortunate that I could not make any further appearances”. Manchester United used to constantly loan players to Royal Antwerp. Ryan Shawcross was also loaned to the Belgian club. “Personally, I would recommend going on loan at home or abroad to any young player who is on the cusp of first-team football.
“It enables you to grow up because when I went, I was living in a flat with three or four other players and I had never lived on my own before so I had to adapt to new surroundings. “There was also a new language to adapt to and a new league within which results mattered every week.
It was not the same as academy football because winning is the main aim for the fans of the club rather than progression. “The fans were great with me over there and it was a great tool for me to progress in a first-team environment on a consistent basis”.