Stoke 0 West Brom 1
Jonathan Walters watched nine-man Stoke alongside Roy Keane at the Britannia Stadium because manager Mark Hughes felt he was not in the frame of mind to play due to transfer speculation.
Super Jon Walters spending his unscheduled afternoon off with Roy Keane. pic.twitter.com/tbukw8IFrf— Pete Smith (@PeteSmith1983) August 29, 2015
Norwich followed up their £1.5m bid for the Merseyside-born player with a £2m offer on Friday, which was flatly turned down after Hughes had said he would sooner run down the 31–year old’s contract and let him go for free than sell him now.
The two offers have been termed derisory but Walters could still end up moving to the nearly promoted side if they up their bid with a third offer expected before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
“I didn’t include Jon today,” explained Hughes. “ I think it was difficult for Jon today – there has been a lot of speculation about his future.
“I have a lot of guys who would like to be in the first 18 and sit a number of them in the stands so to involve Jon when his focus is not totally on the game today would have been hard on them.
“No fault on Jon’s there is a lot of noise around him. I took the decision myself that it was not appropriate for him to play.”
Hughes hopes Walters is still a Stoke player when he returns from Ireland duty. “We hope he will still stay. Our stance hasn’t changed and we hope he is still part of our plans moving forward.”
However, the former Ipswich striker, who played under Keane at Portman Road, has been disappointed that the Potters have not “valued” him.
“In my eyes, if they valued me, it would be there (contract signed) but it’s not”, he said. “People behind the scenes know why and I’ll leave it with my agents and lawyer.
“We’ve improved every year and I can give you every stat for those years and I’m probably in the top two for everything”.
Hughes questioned the decision-making of referee Michael Oliver and his officials after the Potters has two players sent off in the first half. Ibrahim Afellay was the first player dismissed, sent off in the 25th minute after he was brought down by Craig Gardner. Touched on the face by his hand, Afellay reacted by flicking his own hand into the face of Gardner, with Oliver then showing a red card to the former and a yellow to the latter.
Six minutes later, Charlie Adam was also the recipient of a straight red card having floored Craig Dawson with a challenge before appearing to stand on his leg, right in front of the assistant referee.
Hughes, whose side remain without a Premier League win this season, said after the match: “With the first red card, it is that old thing, the letter of the law – if you raise your hands, then you have to go.
“But if that is the case, both the players should have gone, because Afellay would not have reacted how he did unless something had gone on, and having seen the replay, Gardner has scraped his face – that is why he reacted as he did.
“So they missed that, but the officials missed quite a lot today, to be perfectly honest.
“With the second one, Charlie has gone over to try to block a ball into our box, the lad (Dawson) has wrapped his legs around Charlie and I think at one point kicked him up the backside. So Charlie is unbalanced and has come down and stepped on his leg.
“Whether it is deliberate, you will have to ask Charlie because I haven’t spoken to him about it. But at that point, I think common sense should have prevailed.”
STOKE: Butland, Johnson (Wilson 63), Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters, Whelan,van Ginkel, Shaqiri (Arnautovic 68), Adam, Afellay, Diouf (Ireland 81).
WEST BROM: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Lescott, Gardner (McManaman 46), Fletcher, Yacob (Lambert 35), Morrison, McClean (Gamboa 63), Rondon.
Referee: Michael Oliver
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