Stoke City: Jon Walters given green light to carry on taking penalties after Fulham miss
JON Walters has been given the all-clear to carry on taking Stoke City's penalties – despite another costly miss from 12 yards.
Walters missed his fourth penalty in 10 attempts for Stoke after failing to net from the spot early in the second half of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Fulham.
But manager Tony Pulis will leave it up to Walters and the dressing-room to decide who steps forward to take the club's next penalty.
"If Walts wants to step up and take the penalty, that's up to him," he stated. "I've never been one to stop them taking them if they want to... and I'm sure he'll have the confidence to take it."
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Not that Pulis was under-estimating the cost of the penalty miss at 1-0 down after claiming Stoke could have gone on to win for only a second time in 23 league games on their travels..
"If we score the goal, it's game on," he argued. "It gives them confidence to go on and possibly win the game because we have the impetus at that point. You don't get a better chance than a penalty.
"At this level, we have to be taking those chances. Away from home this season we have been in so many tight games and so when you get chances you have to take them.
"We are very disappointed we haven't come away with something. The first half was flat, but in the second we have had the chances and it just hasn't dropped for us."
He believes American international Brek Shea will have gleaned valuable experience after replacing the injured Matthew Etherington early in the afternoon.
"He's still a bit short of match sharpness, but he looks like he understands the game," said Pulis.
"It gave him the opportunity to see what the league is like and how tough it is, but he will be better for that. I think he was surprised how quick and physical it was, but it was an opportunity to show what he can do."
Etherington walked off clutching the base of his back after an early run down the left wing to leave Pulis, left, reporting: "His back jarred and he just couldn't move. Whether it's the weather, or he slept awkward, I don't know.
"It's disappointing to lose Matty so early in the game because he's looked so good in the last few weeks."
Marc Wilson came through the whole game after being out since breaking his leg on October 27, leaving Pulis to observe: "He looked a bit ring rusty, but it was good to get him 90 minutes."
Match report and analysis, Pages 44 to 47