Mark Hughes has backed Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross to gain a measure of revenge over Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford on Sunday.
An inability to handle a rampant Ibrahimovic in Shawcross’ sole England outing helped the Sweden legend to a four-goal haul – three of which were scored when under the watch of the Stoke defender, including a mesmeric long-distance overhead kick.
A product of United’s youth academy, Shawcross will have extra motivation to turn in a performance against the veteran striker, with Hughes backing his skipper to “lay some ghosts to rest”.
Hughes told reporters: “It’s an opportunity for Ryan. He’s had to carry those moments for a very long time.
“Clearly what happened has affected people’s view of him as a potential international on a more regular basis.
“I think he’ll relish the opportunity, why wouldn’t he? He has the opportunity to play well and maybe lay some ghosts to rest.”
Hughes himself would dearly cherish a victory to shake the Potters out of an early-season stumble, which leaves them second from bottom with just two points after six games.
History is not on the Welshman’s side, however, with Stoke having lost all eight of their Premier League fixtures at Old Trafford, indeed a Stoke side has not beaten United away from home since April 1976.
“It will be good to go there and change that round,” said Hughes. “I hear that Shay Given was a day old the last time we got anything there, so that shows how long it was.
“But records are there to be broken so why not? It’s another box we would really like to tick off.”
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