Written by Luke Fenn

The 17/18 Shrewsbury side is one that I feel is not talked about enough as their was heaps of talent in that 3rd place finishing team from the likes of Shaun Whalley to current Everton Centre-back Ben Godfrey. One of the more notable player in that squad is Leeds winger Daniel James who was sent out to Shrewsbury on a season-long loan from Swansea but the loan was cancelled in less than a month on the 31st of August as he failed to make a single appearance for the league one side. Not the most notable player but Full back Max Lowe was on loan at Shrewsbury from Derby County and made 12 appearances for the Shrews. He has recently been promoted to the Premier League  with Nottingham Forest but is on loan from Sheffield United.

One of the bigger players on the list is defender/defensive midfielder Ben Godfrey who spent the season at Shrewsbury on loan from then championship club Norwich City. The deal was only meant to be 6 months but Shrewsbury extended it due to how well he played and he ended up being a key player in their play-off season making 40 league appearances scoring 1 goal. This helped him break into Norwich’s 1st team and played a key role in their promotion back to the top flight and that helped him take the next step up to Everton. He has also made 2 appearances for England and is not the only one to do so in this squad.

Finally probably the more well known player in this squad was Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Henderson was the number 1 for the Shrews and made 38 league appearances for the club. He quickly became a fan favourite after a positive start between the sticks. He said in September 2017 that playing regular football was great for his development. On the slightly darker side he was hit with a 3 game suspension in January after an altercation with a Blackburn fan but that did not halt his performances and Man United even considered recalling him. By the end of March 2018 he had kept 13 clean sheets in the season. Since his loan at Shrewsbury he’s enjoyed positive loan spells at Sheffield United achieving promotion to the Premier League and finishing top half of the table with Henderson between the sticks. This helped him get 13 appearances for Manchester United and 1 appearance for the England team but is looking to move this summer for regular football.

The team as a whole looked very good in preseason losing just 2 out of 8 games winning the rest and got off to a great start in the season and didn’t suffer defeat until late October going on a 15 match unbeaten streak. Their positive form carried through into 2018 and most people predicted then for potentially automatic promotion but they had some tough opposition in their way as they would have had to break down Blackburn, Wigan and Rotherham to achieve that. They eventually finished the season in 3rd place missing out on automatic promotion by 9 points. This put them in the playoffs and they had to fight for that final spot at promotion as they faced Charlton Athletic in what was predicted to be a tough encounter as the Shrews had lost to them 2-0 just a month before. But they sailed past the London club winning 1-0 in both legs (2-0 on aggregate) with Jon Nolan and Carlton Morris with the goals. This would book them a place in the Wembley final.

A lot was at stake to achieve promotion to the Championship and another chance for Shrewsbury to get out of the this league wouldn’t come anytime time soon staffer this match. They faced one of the favourites for promotion in Rotherham United and knew they would be in for a tough match. Dean Henderson saved a David Ball penalty in the first half but a Richard Wood header beat Henderson and got the goals underway. Alex Rodman equalised for Shrewsbury in the second half and took the match to extra time. Unfortunately for Shrewsbury it was not to be and Richard Wood got his second of the match and made it 2-1 to Rotherham and left Shrewsbury heart broken. Overall I thought this Shrewsbury squad was highly talented and were so unfortunate to miss out on promotion. They have since declined in league positions but at least their players loaned to them have achieved success and have good careers thus far.