SUNNY days are finally here for Ryan Shawcross.
The Stoke legend ended his 14-year stay in the Potteries in February by signing for David Beckham’s Inter Miami.
Ryan Shawcross joined David Beckham’s Inter Miami after 14 years at StokeCredit: Zuma Press
Shawcross reckons David Beckham’s Inter Miami can make a splash in MLSCredit: AP
Shawcross endured a nightmare ending to his time at the Bet365 Stadium after breaking his left leg in pre-season before the 2019-20 campaign.
The horrific injury — which he suffered while making a routine tackle in the friendly against Leicester — restricted him to just a handful of appearances before leaving for South Florida.
But the former Manchester United centre-half, who came through the ranks at Old Trafford while Becks and Miami boss Phil Neville were in their pomp, reckons the Florida sunshine could extend his career.
Shawcross, 33, made an impressive start to life in the MLS with a Man-of-the-Match performance in his full debut as Miami and Nashville finished goalless on Sunday.
He said: “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere here and that lends itself to more of an outdoor lifestyle.
“You can go outside and have nice meals. Everyone is relaxed because it’s hard not to enjoy the weather. The sun always gives you a smile.
“Every morning I can put my shorts and T-shirt on — which is a big change to what I was doing back home. It’s the small things like that which just makes you feel a bit happier.
“I love England, it will always be home but at this stage of my career, coming to Miami just felt like the right thing to do.”
Shawcross endured a nightmare ending to his time at Stoke after breaking his leg in pre-season before the 2019-20 campaignCredit: Getty – Contributor
Question marks over his fitness remain but Shawcross added: “I feel fine now, I have had a long period off and the sun definitely helps.
“I didn’t see much of it when I was in Stoke, but it warms you up and, hopefully, the small knocks will go away now.”
The soaring temperatures here may be doing wonders for his tan but playing 90 minutes is a serious test of fitness and conditioning.
This Sunday’s home match against Gabriel Heinze’s Atlanta will push the man who won a solitary England cap to the limits.
The humidity at 1pm could be a problem as his run-outs in Philadelphia and Nashville were nowhere near as sweaty as this one will be.
Shawcross added: “The main difference in terms of playing has been the heat. You can’t always play at a high intensity, so it’s more of a possession-based game.
“Most teams are trying to keep the ball because it’s impossible to press too much in this heat.
“That suits me though, with the kind of players we have.”
“In Florida, the weather does affect how you play. We are definitely a possession-based side who want to stay on the ball.
Shawcross started his coaching badges at the age of 24 and is still learning alongside the likes of former Everton and New York Red Bulls ace Tim Cahill.
Neville has started well here, bagging a win and a draw on the road in his first three games.
The former United and England defender sees the experienced Shawcross as the perfect man to bolster a backline which looked far from secure last season under boss Diego Alonso.
It was wrench to leave Stoke after making a whopping 453 appearances for the club.
I didn’t see much sun when I was in Stoke.
But with his wife and three young kids keen for an adventure, there was only one answer when Goldenballs came calling.
Shawcross said: “I had a few options but when this came up I wanted to join straight away.
“The coaching can come in the future, because I haven’t played too much recently, I knew I wanted to carry on for a bit longer.
“It wouldn’t have come if my family weren’t going to come with me but they have adjusted well to the lifestyle.
“The kids haven’t dragged me to Disney yet but I’m sure they will.”
With Becks a co-owner and Neville in charge, Shawcross has been made to feel at home, especially with former Stoke team-mate Anthony Pulis, son of his old boss Tony, also a key man on the coaching team.
Shawcross said: “Being a young kid coming through at Manchester United, you look up to people like David and Phil.
“They are the kind of players you aspire to be like and when David was trying to get a team together in Miami, I knew all about it.
Premier League Hall of Fame 23-name shortlist
- Tony ADAMS
- David BECKHAM
- Dennis BERGKAMP
- Sol CAMPBELL
- Eric CANTONA
- Andrew COLE
- Ashley COLE
- Didier DROGBA
- Les FERDINAND
- Rio FERDINAND
- Robbie FOWLER
- Steven GERRARD
- Roy KEANE
- Frank LAMPARD
- Matt LE TISSIER
- Michael OWEN
- Peter SCHMEICHEL
- Paul SCHOLES
- John TERRY
- Robin VAN PERSIE
- Nemanja VIDIC
- Patrick VIEIRA
- Ian WRIGHT
“It’s because of David that the club are trying to be the very best.
“It will take time to get to where they want to be but when David is involved, most things work.
“I will always be a huge Stoke fan and have such fond memories of my time there. This, though, is a new chapter.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.