Shea made to wait at Stoke
Brek Shea will have to wait until next season to try to make his mark at Stoke.
The American winger joined the club in January from FC Dallas but has made only two substitute appearances, most recently against West Ham two months ago. Since then Shea, who arrived at Stoke still recovering from a foot operation, has struggled even to feature in the matchday squad.
United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann was quoted last week saying Shea's lack of action may put his national team place in jeopardy, but Stoke manager Tony Pulis is not tempted to give him a run-out over the final three games of the season. Pulis said: "Brek hasn't been anywhere near it."
He continued: "We've looked at Brek and he's a smashing lad but fitness wise he came to the club when he'd just got over an injury, he'd been out for months.
"He's come here and I think he's enjoyed it but he's found it difficult at times. It's just making sure we look after him, we manage him well enough and then, when his time comes, his time comes.
"He was always one for next season. The football club didn't buy Brek to come in and change water into wine, that was never going to be the case. Him and (goalkeeper Jack) Butland in the January window were signings for the future, they weren't signings to help the team at that moment.
"Brek's only 23 years of age, he's come over from America and it's getting used to everything, getting used to the weather, the set-up. People sometimes don't take that into consideration."
Stoke travel to Sunderland looking to make it three wins in a row after successive victories against QPR and Norwich all but guaranteed a sixth consecutive season of Premier League football. Pulis is now looking for his side to finish the campaign on a high, particularly away from home, where they have managed only two wins all season.
The trip to Sunderland will be followed on the final day by a visit to Southampton, with a home clash against Tottenham, where the club will celebrate their 150th anniversary, in between. Pulis said: "The performances we've put in away from home have been good but we could do with two really good performances at Sunderland and Southampton.
"The Tottenham game will look after itself because it will be a fantastic occasion for the football club being the 150th anniversary. There's loads of stuff going on and we entertain one of the top teams in Europe."
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