Stoke City couldn’t have imagined they would get off to a poorer start to the season as they target an immediate return to the Premier League, following relegation last year.
The Potters currently sit 14th in the Championship table, and are already eight points adrift of the play-off places, which will be concerning reading for the Stoke supporters.
This poor run of form has led to Gary Rowett’s sacking as manager of the club, with Luton’s Nathan Jones appointed on Wednesday, and he’ll be sure to assess the options he has available to him in his squad.
One player that has come under scrutiny for his recent performances is Ryan Shawcross, who has struggled to adjust to life in the Championship.
We look at the 31-year-old’s statistics in more detail in our FLW Spotlight this week:
Shawcross has made 21 appearances this season for Stoke, but his stats don’t make particularly good reading, as he has only made an average of 0.8 tackles per game, which simply isn’t good enough for a centre-back in a struggling side.
He also has made an average of 45.3 passes per game, and with a 75.3% success rate, that is slightly encouraging to see, but in a Stoke side that leak goals this season, something clearly isn’t right.
One of Shawcross’ main strengths has always been his impressive aerial ability, and that is evident in these statistics, as he wins an average of 5.3 duals each game.
With almost six clearances made per game, it also shows that the Potters defence has been sternly tested this season, which really shouldn’t be the case as they have the talent in their squad to be beating the majority of the teams in the Championship.
Personally, I don’t think it’s time for Shawcross to hang up his boots this season, as his experience and leadership will always be useful to the development of the younger players in the Stoke squad.
But he’ll surely see his appearances limited as the season goes on, with better options such as Bruno Martins Indi and Ashley Williams pushing for a starting spot in Nathan Jones’ squad.