Saturday, 19 November 2011

Barton was wanted at Stoke

Tony Pulis admits he would have loved to have signed bad-boy Joey Barton in the summer. 
The Stoke boss held talks with midfielder Barton before he joined today's opponents QPR on a free transfer.

He wanted the troubled star to add some drive to his side and was happy to have the controversial character in his dressing room.

And despite failing to persuade Barton to lead Stoke's Europa League charge, Pulis is still a rare fan of the former jailbird.

He said: ``He’s a good player. I spoke to him in the summer and he came over as a lovely lad.

``I don’t know him personally, but having had a chat with him, he came over as a sincere fella and different to his persona. But it wasn’t to be and he’s done well at QPR.

``People in the game recognise he’s a top player. He’s a very good passer of the ball and he knows the game.

``It’s only stuff that’s gone on around him that’s affected him in regard to other people’s views. He’s one that comes with a little bit of baggage, but you enjoy it.

``Having spoken to him, he had his head screwed on.''

Stoke could do with Barton's legs in midfield as they approach a nightmare run of eight games in December.

And Pulis concedes the build-up of games caused by the Potters' European campaign is going to take its toll.

That was clearly evident when his side crashed to a 5-0 defeat at Bolton last time just a day after flying back from Tel Aviv.

Pulis said: ``It’s is all new to us and we are learning as we are moving. It’s not as though we’ve done this before and can look back and say that’s how we did it before.

``We will go through bad runs and you have to stay level. There’s a lot of people who go daft when you are doing well and daft when you are doing badly.

``You have to make sure players, and everybody around the football club, stay level and focussed.''

One player who is running himself into the ground is striker Jon Walters. As well as helping Ireland reach Euro 2012, the powerful star has played 21 times for the Potters and netted five goals this term.

And Pulis believes there is plenty more to come from the former Ipswich man.

He said: ``I think players have levels and Jon hopefully hasn’t reached the top yet. Fingers crossed there’s more to come.''

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