Matthew Upson joins Stoke City after West Ham release

Matthew Upson
Upson, who has 21 England caps, left West Ham in June

Stoke City have signed England defender Matthew Upson on a free transfer after his release by West Ham.

The 32-year-old has joined on a two-year deal and could line up alongside former Tottenham centre-back Jonathan Woodgate, another summer recruit.

Upson was released following the Hammers' relegation to the Championship from the Premier League.

"This is a fantastic deal when you consider the quality and experience of the lad," said Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

Upson, who has 21 England caps, began his career at Luton Town, before a £2m move to Arsenal in 1997.

But he failed to cement a place in the first team with the Premier League club and after loan spells at Crystal Palace, Reading and Nottingham Forest, signed for Birmingham in 2003.

The Suffolk-born defender made 112 league starts for Blues, before a £6m switch in 2007 to Upton Park, where he went on to make 145 appearances.

He has signed in time to be registered for Stoke's forthcoming Europa League play-off against Swiss side FC Thun and is looking forward to the challenge.

"There is a lot of competition for places here and that is part of the attraction," he said.

"I will relish the fight for a spot because it draws the best out of players.

"The manager has talked to me about the culture here, the discipline and the organisation, and that is an environment I am looking forward to working in."