Just In:Steven Schumacher expresses his sentiments towards Plymouth Argyle.

The 39-year-old departed Home Park for Stoke City in December and will face the Pilgrims for the first time since then in a crucial Championship match at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
Steven Schumacher has maintained his lifelong friendship with Neil Dewsnip even after departing Plymouth Argyle for Stoke City in December. The duo will be on opposite sides for the first time as Schumacher’s Stoke faces the Pilgrims, who are currently led by Dewsnip and first-team coach Kevin Nancekivell, in a critical showdown between two teams fighting to remain in the Championship at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday. Schumacher first crossed paths with Dewsnip when he was eight years old, as Dewsnip was his teacher at Cardinal Heenan High School in Liverpool. Their relationship continued as Schumacher played under Dewsnip in the Everton academy and represented England at youth international level.
Schumacher said: “I think if you have known someone since you were eight years old it shouldn’t change because you move clubs.
“He understood my reasons for leaving and moving on and I know everyone around Argyle knew how much of a big decision that was for me. It wasn’t easy because I was at a really good club where everything was going really well. The club is still progressing, still moving forwards, but we chose to come to Stoke and start a new journey. That’s how it was.

“Just because I chose to do that, my relationship with any of them – not just Neil but Nance, Andrew Parkinson (chief executive) and Simon Hallett (owner) and even the fans – that won’t change.

“I have still got loads of mates down in Plymouth who are big Argyle fans and I have been back there a couple of times since I have been Stoke manager and life goes on as normal. They know I’m just a normal lad who has tried to do the best for his family.”
This time last year Argyle were closing in on winning the League One title under Schumacher, which they eventually did with an incredible haul of 101 points.

Schumacher said: “That will never be taken away from us and it wasn’t just last year, the year before was a progression when we got 80 points and just missed out on a place in the play-offs. The year before that we consolidated in League One and the year before that we won promotion from League Two.

“It was a journey that was set out to us from the very start, similar to what is happening here now at Stoke. We knew when we went down there what the goal was, the end goal was to get into the Championship, and that’s what we achieved.
It wasn’t just me nor Ryan (Lowe), the previous manager before me, nor Neil but all the players contributed, all the staff behind the scenes contributed in that success and Argyle are in the Championship where they deserve to be, desperate to stay there.

“But my journey has changed, I’m now at Stoke and the mission is to get back to the Premier League, one step at a time.”

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