Inter Miami CF have bolstered their backline ahead of the 2021 MLS season by signing center back Ryan Shawcross as the long-time Stoke City captain departs England, it was announced Saturday. The 33-year-old joins on a free transfer and will occupy an international roster slot, pending a physical and receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
Shawcross should bring a veteran presence to Inter Miami’s defence heading into head coach Phil Neville’s first year at the helm. Shawcross is among the top 10 in all-time appearances for Stoke City (over 400), plus tallied 25 goals and 16 assists for the club. He was integral to Stoke City’s Premier League stay from 2008-18, then remained key to their promotion hopes in the Championship.
“Ryan fits the Inter Miami DNA because of his experience and his longevity at a club,” Chris Henderson, Inter Miami CF chief soccer officer and sporting director, said in a release. “He’s going to be able to come here and be a leader, not only on the field, but his leadership will be seen with the young players and players coming through. He’s physically dominant, his feet are good, his range of passing is good and we think he’s going to be a great addition to our backline.”
“Adding another central defender was important for our group and we want to create competition at every position. That’s the goal, to be able to go out every day and the players are fighting for their spot. That will help the team as a whole. That’s Phil’s vision to have competition.”
Shawcross has earned one cap for England’s national team, plus came through Manchester United’s academy as Neville’s own playing tenure with the Red Devils wound down. Shawcross also overlapped with new Inter Miami teammate Brek Shea at Stoke City from 2013-14.
Shawcross joins a center-back corps that already includes Nicolas Figal and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. As an expansion club in 2020, Inter Miami earned the last Eastern Conference spot (No. 10 seed) in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.