Ryan Shawcross joined Manchester United when he was 15-years-old and spent six years at the club.
When he was 20, he joined Royal Antwerp on loan, before joining Stoke on loan the following year. He played in over 40 games for Stoke that season, who were in the Championship at the time, and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League.
Half way through that season, Sir Alex Ferguson tried to organise another loan spell for Shawcross, but the defender decided it would be in his best interest to leave the club permanently so he could get more playing time. Ferguson wasn’t impressed, but managed to negotiate a clause in Shawcross’s contract which meant United had first refusal on him.
Shawcross has discussed in more detail the circumstances behind him leaving the club.
After a few months at Stoke, I got offered a new deal at United but I wanted to play. Me and Sir Alex had a disagreement, he wanted me to sign and then go out on loan again, and it took a week or so before we agreed.
I could easily have stayed and got 150 appearances but instead I’ve got nearly 350 here [at Stoke]. I want to end my career with over 500 games and, if I’d stayed at United, that wouldn’t have happened.
It wasn’t just me, better players than me left as well, like [Barcelona’s] Gerard Pique.
Me and Sir Alex are fine though. Over the years he has been very good to me. He’s texted me a number of times — and he did congratulate me on making my England debut.