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Stoke City centre-back Ryan Shawcross dreams of emulating Fulham's European success

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross admits he is envious of Fulham's Europa League success this season and is dreaming of a push for European qualification with the Potters next year.

Craven Cottage is the venue for the clash between Fulham and Stoke on Wednesday night, as Roy Hodgson's Cottagers await the Europa League final after semi-final victory over Hamburg.

Stoke and Fulham have had comparable league form this season, sitting in 13th and 11th respectively.

Fulham snuck into Europe last season after claiming seventh spot and the towering English defender says it would be "fantastic" if his side could work similar wonders next term.

"Next season, our first aim will be to reach a points tally where we can't be relegated, and then we will push on from there," Shawcross told the Sentinel.

"I would love to play in Europe - ask any of the Stoke lads and they would say the same.

"It is the ultimate for a professional. If we could do it, it would be fantastic, although it is difficult and the first aim is to get to that safety mark.

"But Fulham are a good example of how, if you get off to a good start, you can push on."

Shawcross was named Stoke's Young Player of the Season on Sunday, while midfielder Matthew Etherington picked up three awards for overall Player of the Year.

Shawcross believes that his left-sided team-mate would have been a prime candidate for World Cup selection if he hadn’t succumbed to injury. Shawcross was called up for an England friendly with Egypt in February.

"He [Matthew Etherington] has been brilliant this season and it has come as no surprise to me that he has won the awards he has done," Shawcross said.

"Matty is a top lad and a top player, and I'm glad for him that he has won these awards.

"I honestly believe that had he not picked up an injury against Manchester City then he would have been in with a shout of an England call-up, that's how good he has been this season.

"Hopefully, he can continue to progress next year and then who knows, hopefully Stoke could have a couple of players in the England squad."

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