Stoke City Players to Watch

HoustonDynamo.com breaks down key players to watch for ahead of July's Charities Cup match

While many American fans will know former Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron and former FC Dallas attacker Brek Shea, here are three more Stoke City players to know before the Potters visit Houston on July 24 for the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup.

Forward Jonathan Walters:

The England-born striker leads Stoke City with seven Premier League goals this season and has appeared in all 35 Premier League games, tied for most on the club with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The 29-year-old with duel citizenship for the Republic of Ireland and England has 17 caps for the Republic of Ireland national team, including appearances in all three group stage games at Euro 2012. Walters scored both goals in Ireland’s latest 2014 World Cup qualifier, a 2-2 home draw with Austria on March 26.

Walters has produced some big performances this season, including a two-goal showing in a 3-1 win over Liverpool last December. Born in Merseyside, England, Walters came up through the Blackburn Rovers academy before making his English Premier league debut at age 18 with Bolton Wanderers in 2001.

The 6-foot forward joined Stoke City in August 2010 and has appeared in 35 or more EPL games in all three seasons with the Potters, scoring a total of 20 league goals (33 overall). He made a career-high 54 appearances in the 2011-12 season, including all 38 Premier League games and 10 appearances in the Europa League. 

Trivia: Walters has set a Stoke City record with 88 consecutive Premier League appearances.

Forward Peter Crouch (pictured, above):

Crouch rose from the Tottenham Hotspur academy before signing with the senior team in 1998 at age 17. After stints with Queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth and Aston Villa, he joined Liverpool in 2005. He led the Reds with 18 goals in the 2006-07 season as Liverpool reached the Champions League final. Crouch scored 42 goals in 134 appearances across all competitions for the Reds, helping Liverpool win the 2006 FA Cup.

Crouch’s English odyssey continued with stints with Portsmouth and a return trip to Tottenham before he joined Stoke City in August 2011 for a club-record transfer fee of $14.5 M.

Crouched recorded his 100th Premier League goal in January 2012 and continued his strong season with a sensational volley goal against Manchester City in March. A team-leading 14 goals in all competitions led to his earning Stoke City Player of the Year Award in 2012.

The 6-foot-7 forward is one of the tallest strikers of his generation.  He has scored 22 goals in 42 career appearances for the England national team including a goal in a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup.

Defender Ryan Shawcross:

Shawcross has been the captain of Stoke City since the 2010-2011 season, when the Potters reached the first FA Cup final in club history.  The defender joined the Manchester United youth academy at age 15 and spent six years at Old Trafford before he joined Stoke City on loan in 2007. Shawcross, 25, helped Stoke gain promotion to the Premier League the following season. He signed a long-term contract extension in January that will make him a Potters until 2018.

Shawcross made his debut for the England national team against Sweden last November.