Pulis hopes he's the man finally to let the maverick talents of Jones flourish
Stoke City 2 Everton 0
Monday 03 January 2011
Tony Pulis is the latest manager to take on the enigma that is Kenwyne Jones and will probably throw his trademark baseball cap to the ground in frustration many times this season.
There are not many centre-forwards operating in the Premier League who continue to divide opinion so much as Jones and he has already proved in his short spell in the Potteries that he can veer from unplayable to teeth-gnashingly infuriating in the blink of an eye.
Against Everton, there were clear signs why Stoke had opted to fork out a club record £8m fee, with the towering header a deadly reminder of his aerial ability. Indeed, his reputation as one of the more dangerous targetmen in the top flight is understood to have once prompted John Terry, the Chelsea and England defender, into making a personal recommendation to the Stamford Bridge hierarchy after a particularly testing encounter.
Jones was also courted by Liverpool 12 months ago while Harry Redknapp has been a consistent admirer.
Steve Bruce, however, could not wait to get shot of the Trinidad & Tobago international this summer after his patience finally snapped, describing Jones as frustrating, inconsistent and an unfulfilled talent. He has not been the first manager to express such sentiments.
Pulis has hinted at personal problems affecting the 26-year-old, but on his day he remains unplayable. It is just a case of ensuring those occasions become more frequent.
The midfielder Dean Whitehead is acutely aware of Jones after playing with him at the Stadium of Light. "I think Kenwyne is up there with the main targetmen," Whitehead said. "He's big, strong and quick, and in the air there are not too many better.
"It's about getting it out of him all the time. He's a massive player for us and when he's on form not many players can handle him. I don't know what's gone on with him off the field, but when he goes out there he always battles for the team and he's really important for us."
Jones' 23rd-minute header, following excellent work from Matthew Etherington, will have only increased the frustration for David Moyes, the Everton manager. The days of Everton spending £8m on a striker are long gone and Moyes knows his best hope of player recruitment this month is through the loan market.
His team possessed the cutting edge of a plastic spatula and their misery was complete when Phil Jagielka produced a calamitous own goal – his second of the season and Everton's third in a row.
But Moyes has defended the England international who, he revealed, had been playing through the pain barrier to help the team.
He said: "Jags didn't kick a lot of balls with his right foot today because he's got a thigh strain so he really wanted to come out and play and we have to give him a lot of credit.
"We needed him today because otherwise we would have had to come here with Tony Hibbert at centre-half, which against their size would have been really difficult. Defenders are liable to score own goals if you're in there and trying to block things and be in the right place. He put himself up, he could have probably done with a few more days, if not longer, to get himself fully fit."
Scorers: Stoke Jones 23, Jagielka og 69.
Subs: Stoke Tuncay (Pennant, 59), Whelan (Etherington, 79), Walters (Fuller, 84). Unused Sorensen (gk), Faye, Wilson, Gudjohnsen. Everton Anichebe (Neville, 66), Osman (Arteta, 66), Beckford (Saha, 79). Unused Mucha (gk), Hibbert, Bilyaletdinov, Rodwell. Booked: Stoke Collins, Begovic, Whitehead, Delap; Everton Cahill.
Man of the match Etherington Match rating 6/10.
Possession Stoke 51% Everton 49%.
Shots on target Stoke 4 Everton 10.
Referee A Marriner (W Midlands). Att 27,418.
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