Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has paid an emotional tribute to the local NHS frontline workers after joining a radio phone-in to say thank you to one particular member of staff.
Potters fan Will is working in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, alongside his wife, who is also a nurse.
Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke presenter Matt Sandoz, Will explained the challenges he’s facing everyday, the worries he has for his loved ones and how he’s trying to maintain the high spirits of his children in such difficult times.
It was at this stage that Matt introduced skipper Shawcross into the conversation – the club’s longest serving player immediately recognised the work that Will, and indeed the entire NHS, has been doing in this time of national crisis and at great personal risk.
“It’s great hearing you, and how much work you’re putting in,” Shawcross told BBC Radio Stoke.
“You were talking about your kids doing the NHS stuff, and my kids are doing it every night. It nearly brings you to tears, when you’re doing the Thursday clap.
“These people like Will for the NHS, the doctors and nurses…I think everyone knew what a great job they do, but it’s really put it into perspective how much we owe them, the people who are working in it.
“I’m fortunate that I can sit at home knowing these great people are out there working, risking their lives and making people better.
“All I can say is a well done, a huge congratulations for what you’re doing and I hope you come out of this safe.”
Will then revealed how he’s been representing City at all times while working.
“One of my friends, he made me a load of stickers for my visors and goggles, so I wear a Stoke badge on everything that I wear,” he explained.
“His theory was that it’ll keep me invincible. So far it’s working. I wear that badge in the same way that you wear our badge, Ryan. We’re Stokies – we don’t run, we don’t hide.
“That’s why I’ve got to do this.”
Will, heartened by the supportive voice of his club’s captain, intends to go about his work and tackle the coronavirus head on.
“My mum is petrified, my sister is recovering from Covid, she’s a nurse as well. She’s worried about me going into work, into this Covid ward,” he added.
“Obviously my wife as well. But we don’t run from this. I’m privileged that I get to do something, that I get to have a go at this.
“This is a once in a two or three generations sort of thing.”