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No. 44: Willian, Chelsea

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Shotton not guilty of assault

Stoke City's Ryan Shotton has been cleared of assault following an incident in Hanley city centre in the summer.

• Blog: Hell Bent on new striker

Shotton, 24, was found not guilty of attacking Mark McDonald and said afterwards: "I am just a happy man. Justice has been done."

North Staffordshire magistrates heard that Shotton, who missed the draw with Everton on Saturday because of a one-match suspension, punched Mr McDonald once in the early hours of June 24, leaving him needing stitches to cuts to his lip and head.

Shotton said it was a pre-emptive punch in self-defence and he was protecting a friend. The court heard that trouble flared after an incident in Touch nightclub. Mr McDonald admitted he was 'wound up' and said there was a confrontation in which he described a 'bit of pushing and shoving' before he was asked to leave the club.

"I acted in self defence for myself, and my friend," Shotton told the court.

The full-back or right-sided midfielder was Stoke's Young Player of the Year last season and has made seven first-team appearances in 2012-13, the latest of them ending in an unfortunate red card at Aston Villa.

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