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Shawcross turns nose up at Costa's hardman status

Diego Costa is not as intimidating as some of the players in England's lower leagues, according to Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross.

Chelsea's powerhouse forward endured a tempestuous on-field battle with Shawcross during a 1-0 loss at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday – the Premier League champions' seventh loss in 12 outings of a dire title defence.

During his sixth consecutive match without a goal, one once again more notable for his actions off the ball as opposed to inside the penalty area, the Spain international took the unusual step of suggesting that Shawcross had a body odour problem.

Speaking at a fans' forum organised by BBC Radio Stoke on Wednesday, the centre-back was presented with a gift bag of deodorant products before making light of Costa's gamesmanship.

"I played in the Championship and there's a lot nastier people in the Championship and tougher people," Shawcross said.

"Once you've got Costa concentrating on you rather than the game you've won the battle.

"I was pleased he was concentrating on me and just delighted to keep him quiet because he's a fantastic player."