Stoke City: Club legend Denis Smith hails Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth
RYAN Shawcross and Robert Huth can be the new Denis Smith and Alan Bloor – says Stoke legend Smith himself.
City's central defence looks secure for some time yet as Shawcross is under contract until the summer of 2014 while Huth has just signed a new deal which will keep him at City for the next four years.
Shawcross, aged 24, and Huth, aged 27, have been regulars at the heart of City's defence for three years.
And Smith believes they can be as important to City as his own famous partnership with Bloor, which was a fixture in the Stoke team for most of the 1970s.
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Smith and Bloor, both from Meir, clocked up 956 senior games for Stoke during a combined service totalling 29 years.
While Shawcross and Huth might not match that, Smith believes they have become a strength of Tony Pulis's side.
He said: "Sometimes in your career you get to play with someone who you are comfortable with.
"Ryan and Huthy click and work together just like myself and 'Bluto' did.
"I am delighted Huthy has signed a new contract. That's brilliant news for Stoke fans.
"He is a good around the dressing room and is a strong character. He is also good for Ryan, who people forget is young for a central defender."
Shawcross was linked with moves to Liverpool and Spurs last summer, but made clear he was happy at Stoke.
Huth, meanwhile, was rumoured to be interesting Everton.
Smith added: "It's a sign of how Stoke have moved on that good players want to stay.
Huth and Shawcross were the joint winners of the players' player award for last season.
Smith's not surprised they are rated so highly by their team-mates.
He added: "I've never seen a team win anything without two good centre-halves."