Here are your Stoke City morning headlines for Sunday April 26
Robert Huth is learning to become a sporting director after growing “sick of people telling me what to do” as a player.
The Stoke City favourite is studying for a degree that will help him build a career in one of the most influential roles at modern clubs.
Huth announced his retirement in January 2019 – having returned for a brief spell training with Stoke the previous summer – and had said that he’d become “fed up” with football, realising how “unimportant” it was.
But now he says his love for the game has returned.
“I didn’t know what to do with my life,” Huth told Talksport on why he took up the degree.
“Once I heard what it was, I gave Tony [Faulkner, co-founder of sporting directorship course leaders VSI] a call and said I wanted to be a part of it.
“I was always fascinated in what happened behind the scenes at football clubs and how it works. It’s great. As a player you only get to experience one part of the game, but I’m now ready to experience both sides.”
When can Stoke City’s season be finished?
The English Football League have confirmed talks are still ongoing with the Premier League and other stakeholders about promotion and relegation in the 2019/20 season.
The EFL again reiterated their stance that the season must be completed but only when it is safe to do so, working alongside government’s rules and regulations.
However, after the Dutch FA confirmed there would be no promotion, relegation or title winner from the Eredivisie this season, the EFL have reiterated that plans are still being discussed with the Premier League and the FA.
The league board say they have received “a variety of proposals” but add “it is important to emphasise that there is a range of opinion among our membership”.
Stoke City have been hauled from the foot of the Championship by Michael O’Neill over the winter and now sit 17th, their highest position of the season – if still only three points clear of the bottom three.
Wilson Palacios has revealed how he was on a two-man transfer shortlist for Barcelona – but only found out later thanks to Stoke City teammate Bojan.
Palacios has been looking back on his career in a group chat with former Honduras players, reviewing a career which took in stops at Birmingham, Wigan Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur before he arrived at Stoke in a joint-deal with Peter Crouch in 2011.
But he might have a couple of other illustrious names on his CV, having been wanted at various times by Manchester United and Paris St Germain, as well as Arsenal.
And a year before he moved to the Potteries he has discovered there was serious interest from Barcelona. It apparently came down to him or Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano – and the latter got the nod before picking up two Champions League titles.
“I found out recently,” Palacios explained, “that Barcelona loved me. There was gossip but I found out it was true later.”
Thibaud Verlinden wants to give fans what they really want: excitement and goals.
The 20-year-old was just forcing his way into the Stoke City first team after returning from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers when he was forced off with a season-ending knee injury against Preston in mid-February.
It had been promising to be the long-awaited breakthrough for one of the most exciting forwards to come through the Stoke Academy in recent times; a swaggering, swivelling winger with a deft cross and fierce shot.
He had enjoyed the chance to give a glimpse of his potential under Keith Hill at Bolton and loves getting supporters off their seats.
“Yes, I really did (enjoy it at Bolton),” he said in an interview for the new special edition of Duck.
“It was at the end of the window and I had decided that it was time for me to get regular game time. I felt that I was ready for it.
“I really enjoyed it… I had a really good connection with the Bolton fans, a lot like I have with the Stoke fans.
“I like to attack, dribble, put crosses in the box and score really… and fans like that kind of player.”