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This from Tony Pulis, manager of Stoke City, on his new signing Peter Crouch.

“Peter is a great lad and I think you’re pigeon-holing someone just because their picture is in the paper,” Pulis said. “He is a fantastic kid, very down to earth, and we are absolutely delighted to have him.”

Peter Crouch is thirty years old. At what point does a professional footballer cease to be a ‘lad’ or a ‘kid’? The answer is  that in the minds of most British football managers, they don’t, and therein lies a problem. In any business that employs specialist staff, they should be respected and treated as adults, otherwise there is a risk that they will become disaffected and will not give of their best. Perhaps that explains why Stoke City are an ugly, limited team.

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