Stoke star Marc Wilson ‘not’ far away’ from return

Stoke defender Marc Wilson is “not far away” from a return to action and is said to be “desperate” to be ready for the European Championship finals for Ireland.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will be encouraged by the latest news from the Britannia on a player whose versatility in defence would make him odds-on, if fit, to be part of the squad of 23 for France.

Wilson suffered a knee injury towards the end of Stoke’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace on January 30, when it was confirmed the 28-year-old would be out for three months. But the Aghallon-born man is now nearing the end of his rehab.

“Marc Wilson, I’ve been told this morning, the quote was ‘he’s not far away,’” said Stoke’s assistant manager Mark Bowen.

“He’s desperate, the same as Shay Given, to get himself fit and play a few games before the season finishes so he is ready for the Irish campaign.”

Meanwhile, Stoke boss Mark Hughes has insisted Jon Walters did not put country before club by undergoing his recent knee surgery. According to Hughes, there was simply no alternative to the player going under the knife.

“He didn’t have a full range of movement because the cartilage was restricting the movement,” said Hughes.

“He’s had other issues with his knee where we could nurse him through games, then rest him and we’ve managed him for quite some time doing that. But not with this... it was one of those things that had to be done once we understood what was going on.”

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