Matthew Upson joins Stoke City after West Ham release

Upson, who has 21 England caps, left West Ham in June

Stoke City have signed England defender Matthew Upson on a free transfer after his release by West Ham.

The 32-year-old has joined on a two-year deal and could line up alongside former Tottenham centre-back Jonathan Woodgate, another summer recruit.

Upson was released following the Hammers' relegation to the Championship from the Premier League.

"This is a fantastic deal when you consider the quality and experience of the lad," said Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

Upson, who has 21 England caps, began his career at Luton Town, before a £2m move to Arsenal in 1997.

But he failed to cement a place in the first team with the Premier League club and after loan spells at Crystal Palace, Reading and Nottingham Forest, signed for Birmingham in 2003.

The Suffolk-born defender made 112 league starts for Blues, before a £6m switch in 2007 to Upton Park, where he went on to make 145 appearances.

He has signed in time to be registered for Stoke's forthcoming Europa League play-off against Swiss side FC Thun and is looking forward to the challenge.

"There is a lot of competition for places here and that is part of the attraction," he said.

"I will relish the fight for a spot because it draws the best out of players.

"The manager has talked to me about the culture here, the discipline and the organisation, and that is an environment I am looking forward to working in."