Ryan Shawcross: Stoke City defender to 'change his game' after penalty decisions

Ryan Shawcross
Ryan Shawcross has been booked in each of Stoke City's first two matches of the season

Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has admitted he will have to change his style of defending as a result of the current clampdown on shirt-pulling.

Shawcross was penalised for pulling Nicolas Otamendi's shirt in the penalty area as Stoke lost 4-1 in the Premier League to Manchester City on Saturday.

Referees are under new instructions to penalise shirt-pulling at set-pieces.

Asked if he will change the way he defends corners, he replied: "I'm going to have to, otherwise I'd be stupid."

The 28-year-old centre-half, who has made 268 league starts for Stoke, added to Match of the Day: "I can't carry on giving penalties away. I've let the team down.

"You have to adapt your game. The penalty was given for using my hands. It's something I'm going to have to look at and hopefully adapt in the right way so I don't give any more penalties away."

Stoke were also awarded a spot kick at the other end of the field on Saturday, when England international Raheem Sterling was penalised by referee Mike Dean for holding Shawcross.

"I didn't think I was impeded too much," Shawcross admitted. "But if they're going to change these rules like they have done then they're going to have to do that for every game.

"It was very soft but if these new laws of the game are going to carry on then we're going to have to adapt."

Mike Dean
Mike Dean has awarded three penalties and 11 yellow cards in two league games so far this season

'Refreshing, honest views'

Former England striker Gary Lineker said: "He may have made a mistake but it is very refreshing to hear those honest views from Shawcross.

"We get sick of holding and mauling in the box. It is not that kind of game, is it?"

Match of the Day pundit Phil Neville added: "It's a new directive. The players are going to have to learn very quickly.

"There are going to be a lot of penalties this year. I don't like the directive but what it will do is give the advantage to the attacker.

"If you're marking in the box, you have got to get physical, man-to-man against someone."

BBC football analyst Garth Crooks said: "The referees' new directive this season could not have been clearer - any holding in the penalty area will be penalised.

"The Stoke City centre-back seemed to completely disregard the warning and handed Manchester City the perfect gift."

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