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Woodgate determined to reward Stoke

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12 Jul 2011 09:00:11

Woodgate determined to reward Stoke

Jonathan Woodgate believes he "still has a lot to offer" after being handed a lifeline by Stoke.

Injury-plagued defender Woodgate has penned a one-year contract at the Britannia Stadium after his deal at Tottenham expired. The 31-year-old has undoubted talent but his career has been decimated by injury to the extent that he was able to make just four appearances in the last two seasons at White Hart Lane due to a groin problem.

"It was important for me to work hard on my fitness during the summer because I wasn't sure where I would be playing and I knew that would decide my future," Woodgate said.

He added: "So hopefully I can stay fit now because I feel I still have a lot to offer at this level. With the back-up from the medical and sports science department which they have here at Stoke, that can only help my prospects of doing that."

"I was thrilled when Tony Pulis asked me to come and join the club. I'd spoken to him a couple of times about the progress that Stoke have made over the past three seasons and his plans for the future in aiming to build on that success."

Pulis conceded Woodgate's fitness issues are a worry but is confident it is a risk worth taking.

He told the club's website: "The lad is a top-class player and it's been well documented that he has had his injury troubles, but we believe that if his fitness is managed properly, he will play games for us.

"We know that other Premier League clubs were keen on signing Jonathan, so we are delighted he has chosen us. It's a chance we are taking, but one we were keen to take because of the stature and quality of the player."

"We've effectively taken him on a pay-as-you-play deal which just shows how desperate the lad is to get his career back on the right track."

Woodgate will not fly out to the team's pre-season training camp and will instead meet his new team-mates later this week when they return from Austria.


PA

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