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Ryan Shawcross in talks over new contract

Stoke City have started negotiations over a new deal for Ryan Shawcross as they bid to keep the highly-rated defender at the Britannia Stadium.

Shawcross, 22, has been one of Stoke's key players since their promotion to the Premier League in the summer of 2008 and has featured in all eight of the club's games this season under Tony Pulis.

He joined Stoke for a fee of just £1 million when moving from Manchester United in January 2008 but is now worth considerably more and was even linked with a possible move to Liverpool before the close of the summer transfer window.

With the player's growing reputation in mind, Stoke are now holding talks with Shawcross and his representatives as they look to extend a contract that currently expires in two years' time.

"We've started talks but it's a long process,'' Shawcross told BBC Radio Stoke. "I'm happy here. My family is happy here and I want to stay. These things can take months but there's no rush, I'm not too worried."

Shawcross first joined Stoke on loan in the summer of 2007 and scored six goals in 26 appearances before securing a permanent move from Manchester United.

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