Ryan Shotton has made a promising start to his career at Wigan Athletic. The big 24 year old defender arrived at Wigan only three weeks ago, on loan from Stoke City until January.
We reached out to a father and son team who are lifelong Stoke City fanatics for their views on the player. Our thanks go to Will Condliffe, and his dad Paul Condliffe, for this interesting article.
Local lad Ryan Shotton came through the ranks at Stoke City and was the first youngster to progress through the club’s new academy set-up
He signed professional terms in 2007 and went out on loan to Altrincham, Tranmere Rovers and Barnsley to gain first team experience before breaking into the Stoke squad towards the end of the 2010-11.
Under the leadership of then manager Tony Pulis, Stoke fans thought that another ‘Stokie’ would at long-last follow in the footsteps of the likes of Stanley Matthews, Gordon Banks, Denis Smith and Jimmy Greenhoff and go on to regularly wear the red and white stripes in the top flight of English football. Indeed he went on to make 50 appearances for The Potters, scoring in the UEFA League in 2011-12 against Hajduk Split and Maccabi Tel Aviv. .
However, although Shotton was developed through the youth set-up as a centre-back he was used by Pulis as a full-back, a wide midfielder and even as a stand-in forward on several occasions. Unable to break the partnership of the impressive Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross, Shotton never had an opportunity in his most natural position and perhaps this is where the route of his problems, and his demise, lie.
Towards the end of last season, as the Potters’ form slumped and the club was dragged into a relegation battle, many his own fans turned on him – jeering his name when the starting line-up was announced and cheering as his number went up on the substitute’s board. This was cruel and harsh and certainly impacted on his confidence, if not his enthusiasm. He certainly wasn’t the only player under-performing at the time. That said, he did look like a fish out of water, or perhaps more aptly, a centre-back out of position. He doesn’t quite posses the pace, skill and guile to be a ‘modern’ overlapping full-back (let alone a right midfielder) and all too often gets caught out defensively there too.
It can’t be denied that Ryan gives his all but sadly he lacks that special something that makes a top classplayer. Possessing a long throw not exactly as bullet-like as Rory Delap’s but effective nonetheless, Shotton is a worker and will give 100% to the cause and maybe in the Championship will find his level.