Shawcross defended over Ramsey leg break

Stoke City 1 Arsenal 3

It was perhaps as well that the Arsenal party had left the Britannia Stadium by the time Ryan Shawcross's inclusion in the England squad was announced.

Arsène Wenger had already used the word "scandalous" in relation to the challenge by the Stoke defender which snapped Aaron Ramsey's right leg in two places. His reaction to the idea of Shawcross being endorsed by the Football Association might have led to his also receiving a call from the ruling body.

Having had to leave 19-year-old Ramsey in hospital, where he underwent surgery yesterday, the Arsenal manager insisted their revived title push would not fizzle out as it did after a similarly sickening injury to Eduardo at Birmingham two years ago. "We had some other problems then," Wenger admitted. "It will be tight to the end, of course, but this group is so strong mentally, so united, that this will give us one more reason to fight to the end – and to do it for him."

Did such episodes shake his faith in pure football? "No, because I believe the way I try to play the game is the right way. When we don't win, I get a lot of stick because of how we play, but I still prefer to continue playing like that. We respect the game, and the opponents, and try to give pleasure to the people who watch. In my time here, none of my players ever broke anybody's leg. I encourage my players to be committed. I have a go at them when they don't put their foot in, but I feel nearly guilty to do that. When Aaron went for the ball today and got done like he did, it is not an easy situation."

After Arsenal's defeat at Stoke last season, the Frenchman complained furiously about challenges by Shawcross and Rory Delap on Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor respectively. He clearly regarded Ramsey's double fracture as part of a cynical pattern intended to exploit his young team's alleged dislike of what he euphemistically referred to as "the physical stuff".

Following Saturday's victory, which saw Arsenal recover from Danny Pugh's headed opener with a Nicklas Bendtner header, a late Cesc Fabregas penalty and Thomas Vermaelen's stoppage-time tap-in, Wenger added: "In midfield we had [Samir] Nasri, [Emmanuel] Eboué, Fabregas, Ramsey. Their average age is 20-21 years old. Up front, Bendtner, 22. What these guys do, to handle the game the way they did at that age, is absolutely remarkable. Of course if you destroy them, you will not be football players. What is most terrible for me is that a player like Ramsey starts his career with a double operation. You never know what the consequences will be for the physical and psychological side of [his] game. It's scandalous."

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, defended Shawcross. "I know my players better than Wenger. I wouldn't give tuppence for his opinions because he doesn't know the kid. Ryan isn't that type. It's so ironic he's involved because he's such a genuine kid. It'll be devastating for him. The people who work with Ryan know what he's like – he's a real gem, an absolute dream to work with and be around."

The incident took place in the second half, when Arsenal were nullifying Stoke's initial power surge with their touch and movement. Shawcross had possession but a heavy touch gave Ramsey a chance to win the ball. The Stoke player tried to hook his left foot around the ball but caught his opponent halfway up the leg. Wenger viewed the incident in the context of previous long-term injuries, using the same word, "horrendous", as he did after Taylor's lunge on Eduardo. Pulis said Shawcross was "distraught", the very term with which Birmingham's Alex McLeish defended his player.

Television evidence suggested Shawcross was guilty of mis-control rather than recklessness or malice. The referee, Peter Walton, looked unsure how, or even whether, to penalise the former Manchester United reserve, producing a red card only after seeing how badly Ramsey was hurt. This was not Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland revisited. Shawcross, who left the pitch in tears, issued a statement yesterday saying he was "deeply upset" by Ramsey's injury and sending his "best wishes for a speedy recovery". On Wednesday he could become the first Stoke player to represent England since Mark Chamberlain in 1985. For Ramsey, who was due to join up with the Wales squad, the immediate future looks less auspicious.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Sorensen; Huth, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye (Collins, 60), Wilkinson; Delap, Whelan, Whitehead (Lawrence, 77), Pugh; Sidibe, Fuller (Tuncay, 80). Substitutes not used: Begovic (gk), Beattie, Kitson, Diao.

Arsenal (4-5-1): Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Eboué (Walcott, 75), Fabregas, Song, Nasri (Eduardo, 83), Ramsey (Rosicky, 69); Bendtner. Substitutes not used: Fabianski (gk), Vela, Silvestre, Traore.

Referee: P Walton (Nortamptonshire).

Booked: Arsenal Song. Sent off: Stoke Shawcross.

Man of the match: Fabregas.

Attendance: 27,011.

Championship, Rangers v Celtic and Europe

Football continues on pages 12&13

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links