Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross insists there was "absolutely no malice" in the challenge on Aaron Ramsey which led to the Arsenal player suffering a badly broken leg during the Barclays Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
The 19-year-old Wales midfielder was taken to hospital after a tackle by Shawcross, who was later called up to the England squad to play Egypt, as the Gunners came from behind to win 3-1.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was enraged by the tackle, which he described as "horrendous", but in a statement issued by Shawcross, the player is adamant there was no intent, saying: "There was absolutely no malice in the challenge. I would never, ever go out to hurt a fellow professional."
He added: "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."
The 22-year-old's sentiments were echoed by his club, who added in the statement: "Stoke City would like to send their best wishes to Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal Football Club."
They added: "The club do, however, wish to make it quite clear that there was absolutely no malice in the challenge from Ryan Shawcross which caused the injury."
Potters manager Tony Pulis added: "On behalf of everyone at Stoke City, we would like to express our deepest sympathy to Aaron and Arsenal at what has happened today.
"Our thoughts are with him and his family. We hope he makes a speedy recovery and everyone here wishes to see him back on the football field as soon as possible."
Pulis also defended Shawcross, adding: "Ryan Shawcross has no bad blood in him whatsoever. There is no way in a million years he would ever go out and try and hurt someone.
"The lad was heartbroken at what has happened, you could see as he came off the pitch that he was in tears and he feels devastated that Aaron has been so badly injured."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms