Stoke City: Shotton must focus to stay on course for success, says Pulis
RYAN Shotton has been told to get his head together to make sure he fulfils his potential at the highest level.
Shotton, who is pencilled in for his fourth successive start at Aston Villa tomorrow, has been given the no-nonsense message in a heart-to-heart with boss Tony Pulis.
He believes that players who are also local, like Fenton-born Shotton, is a doubled-edged sword for youngsters emerging through the ranks.
They enjoy the support of the home crowd and can be a popular role model, but they are also vulnerable to the less-disciplined lifestyle of their childhood friends.
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And now it's an issue Pulis has addressed after seeing 24-year-old Shotton rise to prominence last season – only to drift completely out of contention before his recent call to arms because of injuries to full-backs Andy Wilkinson and Marc Wilson.
"It's a great help to have local lads playing for your club because it gives youngsters in the town players to aspire to," said Pulis.
"But it also brings other problems because people can get carried away with themselves.
"I've had a good chat with Ryan and now it's up to him.
"Ryan just has to sort his head out and make sure that for every training session he is ready to go.
"We all have bad days and I accept that, but I will not accept people who don't give their best and think they can get away with it."
He said there was no question over Shotton's ability, but he appeared to point a finger towards his attitude amid the pressures of growing up in the spotlight of being a Premier League footballer.
"Ryan has done brilliantly at full-back," Pulis continued. "Last year he had a great run of games and then dropped off.
"To be a professional footballer at this level you have to sacrifice certain things and he realises that.
"What Ryan has got to understand is that it's not just about ability, it's also about temperament and attitude.
"He has all the tools, but you have to apply yourself – it's not a God-given right.
"You have to dedicate yourself to your profession and Ryan has got to do that.
"If he does, he's got a bright future."
And Pulis said such players should take a leaf out of Peter Crouch's book after his refusal to play the 'big-time' card since arriving in the Potteries 15 months ago.
"Crouchy said it at an event the other day," said Pulis.
"When you walk through the door here, no matter how good you are, you've got to work as hard as the others.
"It's not just about what they did yesterday."