Sport Soccer

Sunday 4 December 2016

Hughes hits back at Effenberg jibe

Published 13/08/2015 | 17:03

Mark hughes, left, has defender his new signing Xherdan Shaqiri, right
Mark hughes, left, has defender his new signing Xherdan Shaqiri, right

Stoke boss Mark Hughes has hit back at Stefan Effenberg's criticism of Xherdan Shaqiri, stressing playing time rather than money was the winger's key motivation in joining the Potters.

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Ex-Bayern Munich man Shaqiri completed his switch from Inter Milan to Stoke on Tuesday for a club-record £12million on a five-year contract.

The news prompted strong words from former Bayern and Germany midfielder Effenberg, who was quoted as saying: "I do not understand Shaqiri's move to Stoke at all. You have been badly advised if you go there.

"Schalke (with whom Shaqiri was also linked) would have been perfect for him.

"This is a shame and a sad state of affairs. Only because they are throwing around cash? Is it really all about money for footballers these days?''

Hughes has responded by leaping to the 23-year-old Switzerland international's defence, as well as making a dig at Effenberg.

Asked at Shaqiri's Stoke unveiling on Thursday about claims the player moved for the money, Hughes said: "I haven't really heard that, I've heard it from one guy in Germany who relocated to Florida and hasn't really got his finger on the pulse of world football, I would suggest.

"Yes, there's always a financial element - but I wouldn't suggest Stoke have the ability to blow people out of the water with the deals we can offer, so it is not about that.

"It was about playing. He is a young man and he wants to get back on track.

"He has been at two big European clubs but hasn't had the benefit of playing week-in, week-out for a number of years and maybe that is the attraction - that is what you'd imagine he'll get here on a regular basis, which for a young player is vitally important."

Shaqiri himself laughed off Effenberg's comments.

"He has no job at the moment, so he can talk - he's a free man," Shaqiri said.

"Anybody can talk who is free. But I don't want to comment on this.

"I will concentrate on my job, I'm happy to be here and I can't wait to play. This is my job. It isn't my job to comment on what people say."

He added: ''I want to do my speaking on the pitch.''

Shaqiri spoke earlier in the week about how the belief shown in him by Hughes, Stoke's playing style and the quality of their players were all important factors in his decision to make what he views as a ''perfect move'' for him.

On Thursday he also stressed he was fit and ready to make his debut from the start in Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at Tottenham if required - Hughes would only say ''we'll see'' on that front - and backed himself to adapt to English football quickly.

Shaqiri said: ''I am a player who can integrate very fast and I think English football is perfect for me.

''For a player like me, I think it is the best league to play in and for me this is the best league in the world.

''It was always a big dream of mine to play in the Premier League.''

Meanwhile, Hughes has reported Stoke's medical team were ''very happy'' with the back surgery Potters captain Ryan Shawcross underwent this week which is likely to keep him out for between two and three months.

Regarding the time defender Shawcross is likely to be out for, the manager said: ''I think it was always going to be six, eight, 10, 12 weeks possibly - it is very difficult to put a precise time-frame on it.

''We don't anticipate there will be any setbacks, but you never know.''

Stoke will also be without Bojan Krkic at Spurs, with the Spaniard not yet ready to make his first-team return after his long-term knee injury, and Peter Odemwingie (hamstring), but fellow forward Marko Arnautovic (thigh) and defender Marc Wilson (ankle) are expected to be fit.

Press Association

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