Hughes distances himself from Everton speculation

Date published: Saturday 14th May 2016 10:23

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has ruled himself out of the running to succeed Roberto Martinez at Everton, stressing he is “extremely happy” in his current job.

Martinez was sacked by the Toffees on Thursday and Hughes, who had a brief playing spell with them in 2000, is among the names to have been linked with the post, along with the likes of Southampton’s Ronald Koeman and ex-Ajax boss Frank de Boer.

When that was put to Hughes on Friday, the Welshman said: “I’m one of the more experienced Premier League managers so we shouldn’t be surprised by it really.

“You are almost never first choice in these lists, though – there is a list of foreign managers usually ahead of anybody else when a vacancy comes along.

“But I have to say I’m extremely happy (at Stoke).

“I have a fantastic club to work for with great people, and we still have things to do, so I’m looking forward to next season here.”

Hughes, whose side can still claim ninth spot in the Barclays Premier League this term to match their final position for the last two seasons under him, was speaking ahead of Sunday’s campaign-concluding home clash with West Ham.

Stoke suffered a blow in the build-up to the fixture earlier this week when it emerged that midfielder Stephen Ireland had broken his leg in training.

Hughes on Friday said it was a double fracture that he expects will keep the 29-year-old, whose current contract runs to the summer of 2017, out for eight or nine months.

“It is a bad injury unfortunately – a double fracture,” Hughes said.

“They are very rare and unfortunately Stephen is going to be out for a significant amount of time, probably eight to nine months.

“But the surgeon was very happy with the result of the operation he has had.

“He has had a pin in it and by all accounts it went as well as it could have done, so that is a positive and on that basis, Stephen will play for Stoke again.”

The Potters also have Ibrahim Afellay, Marc Wilson (both knee) and Jack Butland (ankle) unavailable for Sunday’s game.

The contest could see Glen Johnson and Shay Given back involved after spells out with knee and groin problems respectively.

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