Belfast Telegraph

Pulis denies Pennant rift

Stoke boss Tony Pulis insists there is no problem between him and Potters winger Jermaine Pennant.

Having previously been a key figure for the Staffordshire outfit, Pennant has only made a handful of starts since early December, but Pulis is keen to point out the form of the man who has been occupying Pennant's place on the right flank for Stoke, 23-year-old Ryan Shotton.

Pulis said: "Anything I do with players, it is between me and the players, but there are no problems. I have a lad called Ryan Shotton who I thought was outstanding against Swansea (last weekend's 2-0 home victory in the league) and is playing well."

Pulis added: "He is a young lad, born and bred in Stoke-on-Trent and playing on the same side as another player who is born and bred in Stoke-on-Trent (right-back Andy Wilkinson), which is fantastic.

"I have been criticised at this football club for not playing young players, or for playing certain players and not others.

"That is just what happens - it is part and parcel of the game and you have to accept it and get on with it.

"The thing all managers do is pick teams to win games, because if they don't win games they don't keep their jobs. So I pick a team that I think is going to win a game of football, whether I like players, dislike them or think they are good or bad for the group.

"There will be people who want to make an issue of it because it is Jermaine.

"If so, fine, but there isn't an issue with me and he has not been in to see me. He has got on with it and trained well, so it's fine - not a problem."

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