The Tuncay Sanli Conundrum

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 01 September 2010

They say that in matters of the game there’s no-one better or the
same.  Well it’s half right, there may be better but there’s certainly
no-one the same, and that seems to be a problem that neither the fans
or the management can find a solution to.  Undoubtedly the most
exciting signing of last summer, fans hoped that the capture of a
player with the style and ability of Tuncay would signal a change in
Stoke’s style, but also knew that it was never going to be easy for
him to break into Pulis’ team template, neither fitting the ‘Mama’ or
‘Fuller’ roles in a stereotypical Pulis team.

Waiting over 3 months for his first after a series of late substitute
appearances, including the now infamous 6 minute cameo against Hull
and going on to start just 13 Premier League games.  After an
impressive pre-season, Tuncay’s future at the Britania remains as
unclear as ever, with Pulis hinting he could leave and rumours rampant
of a swap deal for Wigan’s Hugo Rodallega, a forward must more suited
to the ‘Fuller’ role.

So is there hope of Tuncay being a success or should we resign to
losing the Turk?  Well….who knows, Stoke are extremely short in terms
of firepower with Sidibe out for the season, Beattie now in Glasgow,
Kitson being firmly kicked out the door and Kenwyne Jones still
sidelined, meaning that should Tuncay stay then he can be reasonably
sure of first team football and fight for a place in the starting line
up.  On the other hand,  for all his clever touches and work rate he
simply hasn’t been clinical enough for a team who create as few
chances as Stoke.  His introduction transformed the game against Spurs
on Saturday but Walters disallowed goal overshadowed the fact Tuncay
missed the best chance of the game, a free header from 4 yards that he
managed to put wide.  Stoke’s success under Pulis comes from a hard
working team, that all have roles and duties which they are suited to,
and Tuncay really feels like a square peg in a round hole, albeit a
hugely talented square peg.

We all know Pulis won’t change the way his teams are set out, and we
know that there will never be a clear-cut ‘Tuncay’ role in that team,
but in a strange way that could be the answer to the problem.  Every
team in the League knows what to expect from Stoke and plan
accordingly, so the introduction of an unpredictable player like
Tuncay means they have to re-evaluate, and fast.  Saturdays game was
evidence of this, with Tuncay’s introduction Spurs quickly lost
control of the game and Stoke players suddenly had more space and time
on the ball than before due to the movement which Tuncay creates in an
attacking move, he can track back 40 yards to make a tackle, play a
one-two with Shawcross and before you know it Dean Whitehead is
storming into the box.  Something nobody ever really expects to see.

Nobody knows what to do with Tuncay in a Stoke shirt, and if he is
still in a Stoke shirt by the time Villa visit the Brit in 3 weeks
then that could be his greatest threat.

Brad Jones

Stoke City Match Reports


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