Phil Neville in frame for role at Stoke City
Tony Pulis and club come to mutual agreement to go separate ways after just three wins this year
The former England international and Everton captain Phil Neville is in the frame for a senior coaching role at Stoke City following the departure of manager Tony Pulis after seven years in charge at the club.
The interest in Neville, 36, who is out of contract at the end of next month is understood to come from chairman Peter Coates' contacts at the Football Association where he has served on the main board. Neville is highly rated at the FA and has been fast-tracked to play a role with the England Under-21 side this summer, although it is still possible that he could be offered jobs by Everton or David Moyes at Manchester United.
Pulis, 55, came to an understanding with Coates at a meeting to leave the club after growing dissatisfaction with the changes being implemented. The club have spent more money on the development of the academy and have brought in the former goalkeeper Mark Cartwright as technical director at the end of last year, alongside academy director Terry Robinson.
There has also been a serious disenchantment among fans with Pulis's defensive approach that has yielded just three victories since the turn of the year. The club believe that they need a comprehensive overhaul of their playing staff in the summer. The differences of opinion on the course the club has been taking prompted Pulis, who has never finished lower than 14th in the Premier League, to negotiate his exit
The club's next manager is likely to mark a sea-change in style from the focus on defence and a reliance on set-pieces for goals that have become Pulis's trademark. Roberto Di Matteo is a possibility but he still has another season of compensation due to him from Chelsea following his sacking last year. Gus Poyet, currently suspended by Brighton during a club investigation, is another possibility.
Stoke made an official announcement confirming Pulis' departure and the feeling among those at the club was that he had eventually left his post willingly having felt that he could no longer manage in a way that was acceptable to him. His director of football John Rudge was among a number of figures at the club who were also due to leave in the summer.
Pulis had tried to take steps to change the club's style and had hoped that the signing of Peter Crouch two years ago would open the door to a better quality of players at the club. However, the feeling was that he has returned to tried-and-tested methods whenever Stoke have lost games. His team has scored just 34 goals this season, only four better than lowest goalscorers, Queen's Park Rangers.
Michael Owen, who made just one start for Stoke this season, in the FA Cup, in his final year a professional, tweeted this afternoon that Pulis had left the club. He posted: "Just heard that Tony Pulis has left Stoke. No denying he did a great job getting them to the Premier League and keeping them there."
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