Tony Pulis has proven in the past that he can be a ruthless manager, and that he is probably the most powerful figure at Stoke, apart from the Chairman and owner Peter Coates of course. So why does Jermaine Pennant insist on pushing the Welshman’s patience to the limit?
Pennant has been a revelation since signing from Real Zaragoza in August 2010, and was one of the best players in Stoke’s run to the FA Cup final in a season where Pulis helped him turn his stalling career around. Now the 29 year-old seems determined to put his name back into the football abyss, with a string of juvenile actions that is only going to see him go one way, out the door.
It started with a late night drinking binge just hours before a big game at Everton, Pulis may not have forgotten but he seems to have forgiven. Pennant found himself out of the first team but on the bench, and regularly making sub appearances. The Welsh wizard was clearly teaching the former Liverpool winger a lesson, and just when that lesson seemed to be over, a total of 3 months later, Pennant started to furrow his way back into Pulis’ first team.
However, after Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Wigan came the sucker punch, via the source of all football evil these days, Twitter. Pennant not only complained about his team mates performance, but also moaned at Pulis for his tactics and in a rather petulant way, the position and role he was asked to play for the team. At Stoke you are a part of a team, you’re not an individual, and that will hurt Pulis the most.
Just as Pennant got his foot back in the door, he seems to have let it close. There is little doubt that with such a small squad, and 7 games to go Pennant will play a big part in the remainder of the season. But whether he will still be here come September is anyone’s guess; it will depend on whether Pulis considers him to be worth the bother. Personally I think he is, but no player can be excused forever (hint hint Mr Balotelli). Although it seems Ricardo Fuller can be! Pennant doesn’t warrant a sale just yet, but he needs to seriously knuckle down otherwise his career will once again go nowhere.
James Beattie, Dave Kitson and Tuncay all pushed Pulis’s patience to the limit and beyond, none of them have set the world alight since leaving Staffordshire. Let’s hope Pennant isn’t going to be the latest name to join that list, because make no doubt about it the gaffer will have no problem letting him go. Over to you Jermaine….