Pulis hails Shotton rise
Tony Pulis has hailed utility man Ryan Shotton for boosting the local influence in the Stoke side.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 16/03/12 4:56pm
Manager Tony Pulis has hailed utility man Ryan Shotton for boosting the local influence in the Stoke side.
Born in Fenton, Shotton has not only come through the club's ranks to make his Premier League debut but has held down a regular place in the Potters' line-up of late.
The 23-year-old has been given the nod ahead of ex-Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant this season and has taken his chance.
The versatile local lad has now racked up 10 Premier League starts on the right side of midfield in front of another Academy product, Yarnfield-born defender Andy Wilkinson.
Some fans questioned Pulis' decision to stick with Shotton ahead of Pennant but the Potters' boss is delighted to have two home-grown players working in tandem.
"I've taken some stick because I've left Pennant out and played Shotton but I've been really pleased with Ryan," he said.
"Having him and Wilko, two local lads, on the same side of the pitch is brilliant.
"He's got loads to work on and improve on but he's really enjoyed and relished the games, and he's played in some tough games and done smashing.
"It's great that we've got players who have come through the academy. It helps everything we're trying to do at the football club."
Previously loaned out to Altrincham, Tranmere and then Barnsley, Shotton has made the most of each opportunity to keep improving his game.
He has started Stoke's last three games but Pulis must decide whether to recall Pennant against his former club Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
Another ex-Red is set to start at Anfield, though, as Peter Crouch is expected to come straight back in for the suspended Ricardo Fuller after being left out for last week's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
"I thought it was right to give him a rest," said Pulis.
"His stats have been unbelievable and I wanted him fit for this week, and obviously the Liverpool game is the big game."
Stoke are looking to return to Wembley after reaching last year's final, losing 1-0 to Manchester City.