RYAN SHOTTON crowned a spectacular rise to prominence in the 2011-12 season by being named the Club’s Young Player of the Year.
The 24-year-old Fenton-born defender was acclaimed for the impressive way in which his versatile qualities had a significant impact upon the season.
It all began with him achieving the distinction of scoring Stoke City’s first goal in a European tie on foreign soil with the late winner that guaranteed their passage through the Europa League qualifying round tie against Hajduk Split.
Shotton followed that up by poaching another last gasp winner to settle the local derby against West Bromwich Albion and in both those instances he had been introduced as a late substitute to operate as a makeshift striker.
It was down the right hand side, however, where he was given many of his opportunities, either at full back or in a midfield role.
A product of the Club’s Academy, Shotton signed his first professional contract with the Club in the summer of 2007.
He gained much of experience in the early stages when going out on loan to Altrincham, Tranmere Rovers and then Barnsley.
In each of those cases, he spent the whole season with the clubs and clocked up more than 30 games to boost his development.
When he moved to Barnsley for the 2009-10 season, he was accompanied by his Potters team-mate Carl Dickinson for that campaign.
Much of the time out on loan was spent operating as a central defender, but it would appear that his future now lies as a right back.