Pulis wants Shawcross in for long haul

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Stoke manager Tony Pulis is determined to retain the services of highly-rated defender Ryan Shawcross.

The 21-year-old centre-back, who scored the opening goal in the victory against Burnley on Saturday, has been linked with a number of top clubs. Among them are Liverpool, Stoke's opponents at Anfield on Wednesday, but Pulis had a message for their Barclays Premier League rivals as well as other suitors on the eve of the game.

He said: "We want to keep Ryan among the younger players in the squad. He will be a big asset to us as this club looks to push on."

Pulis added: "He has done fantastically well for Stoke. He has played one game this season and one swallow does not make a summer. He has come on and looks a player. Long may that continue.

"Ryan is a good lad and he has got to keep his feet on the ground. He has got to keep working and putting in the effort that will improve him. We will keep on to him about that."

Pulis could be about to strengthen his defensive options as he closes in West Ham's James Collins. It is understood a deal could be sealed for the Wales defender before the Liverpool match.

Stoke managed to secure two draws against Rafael Benitez's side last season and Pulis is looking for more of the same this time around.

Pulis said: "We will do what we did last year when we put in a great performance. We will go there and enjoy it.

"People see it as a bonus game but not me. Everyone has to be 100%, however. We will have to play with lots of energy and lots of enthusiasm.

"I will keep the players as level-headed as they can be. If you tell them how great all their players are they will shaking in their boots before game starts."

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Stoke City
Ryan Shawcross
Premier League
James Collins

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