Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday March 5 2007
Stoke City defender, Carl Hoefkens has released a personal statement on the official website denying that there is any rift between him and manager, Tony Pulis and has rubbished reports on BBC Radio Stoke, accusing them of making up the story.
There have been earlier rumours of trouble between the Belgium defender and the manager this season, but Carl seems to have gone out of his way to scotch this latest one. Hoefkens has always appeared very keen to stay at the Brit even though the manager dropped him at the start of the season and the club accepted a transfer bid from FC Bruges in January which the player subsequently rejected.
The full statement:
'On Saturday afternoon, at Plymouth Argyle I felt a tightening in my hamstring muscle, just before half time. At half time I spent 5 minutes with Dave Watson our Physio, who tested my hamstring with stretches and massage. After serious consideration, I told David I would not be able to continue. David left the Physio room, and went into the dressing room to let the Gaffa know that I could not continue.
'I, along with the rest of the players at Stoke City are totally focused on getting the Club into the Play-Offs which we believe is still very much in our hands.
'I was surprised to learn on Monday morning that Radio Stoke had transmitted a broadcast from Sunday that, implied to the Stoke City public, that my withdrawal from the Saturday's game was due, not to my hamstring, but because of my personal relationship with the Gaffa. To see a local radio station make up a story to try and drive a wedge between myself and the Manager, and the supporters of this club, is totally unacceptable, surely we are at a stage in the season where everybody should be getting behind the club and not trying to pull it down.
'My relationship with the Manager has I believe, been the same as it is with all the other players at this Club, if he has a problem, he lets you know, then gets on with his job, and expects you to do the same. We are all totally committed to giving our best over the next 10 games, and I am sure the majority of Stoke City supporters are of the same feeling.
'The reason I left the field on Saturday was due to an injury, and nothing else.
'I am aggrieved to be used in this way, I am here to play football.'
Date:Monday March 5 2007
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