Shotton defends Potters style

Stoke defender angered by criticism of his hometown club

Ryan Shotton: Has finally broken through to the first team after playing through the ranks

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Ryan Shotton has hit back at his critics after claims at the weekend that the defender would never progress while at Stoke City.

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The 23-year-old, who came through the club's academy system, was angered by suggestions that there is little variety in their style of play.

Some pundits fear the club will come unstuck when they take on Spanish outfit Valencia in the Europa League because of this.

Shotton pointed to the fact Stoke currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League and are through to the last 32 of their first European campaign in 37 years as evidence that the club have more to offer than their detractors think.

He said: "I heard someone make a comment that myself and Ryan Shawcross aren't going to progress here.

"But if you are playing in the Premier League then no-one needs to progress you. You are playing and will learn a lot from the players around you. It's been brilliant.

"You can see that I have adapted to whatever position I've played and that is a credit to all the coaches here.

"It's all about opinions. If people want to brand me this or that, then it's up to them. I'll keep doing my job for the team."

Stoke City's direct style and dependence on set-pieces has not endeared them to large sections of opposing fans up and down the country.

And Shotton, who has taken over the trademark long-throw duties from Rory Delap, caused controversy recently over his towelling vest which he uses to dry the ball.

Former World Cup referee Graham Poll called on match officials to caution the defender for unsporting behaviour, but Shotton insists he has not broken any rules.

He said: "Some people have told me it's a towel and people want to look into it. But I can show you it's a vest, end of story."