‘Solid’, ‘capable’ and ‘sound enough’ – Town trialist was a six out of 10 man at Stoke

PUBLISHED: 14:28 13 August 2020

Stoke City's Stephen Ward (left) and coach Rory Delap. Photo: PA

Stoke City's Stephen Ward (left) and coach Rory Delap. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Experienced Republic of Ireland left-back Stephen Ward is currently training with Ipswich Town. Here’s what the Stoke Sentinel said about his 15 starts in the Championship last season.

Stephen Ward made 17 starts for Stoke across all competitions last season. Photo: PAStephen Ward made 17 starts for Stoke across all competitions last season. Photo: PA

CHARLTON 3 STOKE 1 (Aug 10)

“Replaced the unavailable (James) McClean at left-back and was keen enough to join in, but a pity his two efforts at goal failed to hit the bullseye. 5/10.”

BIRMINGHAM 2 STOKE 1 (Aug 31)

“Benefited from the change of system and comfortably held his own until Birmingham put the pressure on. 6/10.”

CRAWLEY 1 STOKE 1 (EFL Cup) (Sept 24)

“Found it more demanding than he might have anticipated on the City left and was struggling with a knock towards the end. 6/10.”

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 STOKE 0 (Oct 22)

“Came in for the ill Martins Indi at left back and didn’t do an awful lot wrong. 6/10.”

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STOKE 0 WEST BROM 2 (Nov 4)

“Back in the fold and at least tried at times to inject some enthusiasm and belief into Stoke’s attacking endeavours. 6/10.”

BARNSLEY 2 STOKE 4 (Nov 9)

“New boss (Michael O’Neill) clearly prefers left-backs at left-back and the Irish veteran was solid for the most part, but did escape possible foul in his own area. 7/10.”

STOKE 2 WIGAN 1 (Nov 23)

“Frequently got involved in Stoke’s better attacking action, now can the 34 year-old manage three games in a week? 6/10.”

CARDIFF 1 STOKE 0 (Nov 26)

“Persevered as an attacking presence from left-back and is giving little excuse to lose his place against the competition available. 6/10.”

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STOKE 1 BLACKBURN 2 (Nov 30)

“He’s a trier when it comes to getting forward and that’s no mean feat after three games in seven days for the 34 year-old. 5/10.”

HULL 2 STOKE 1 (Dec 7)

“Capable on the left-hand side for the most part, but could offer little attacking wise when needed. 6/10.”

STOKE 3 LUTON 0 (Dec 10)

“Didn’t really notice him defensively, always a good sign, and tried to offer McClean some support going forward. 6/10.”

STOKE 0 READING 0 (Dec 14)

“Not afraid to get the ball into the box early from the left and no faulting his energy levels once again. 6/10.”

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MIDDLESBROUGH 2 STOKE 1 (Dec 20)

“Some useful interventions before injury forced him off with around 20 to go. 5/10.”

STOKE 2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 2 (Dec 26)

“Sound enough for the most part at left-back before being sacrificed in the late search for an equaliser. 6/10.”

FULHAM 1 STOKE 0 (Dec 29)

“Tough time trying to block off Fulham’s right-wing attacking threat and was withdrawn shortly before the break. 5/10.”

WIGAN 3 STOKE 0 (Jun 30)

“First start of 2020 and had a tough night trying to keep a handle on Kal Naismith. 4/10.”

SEASON RATING

“Came to Stoke from Burnley when Erik Pieters was going the other way and soon found himself as the only recognised senior left-back at the club. That didn’t always guarantee him a shirt. Only four wins in 15 league starts and bowed out after a 3-0 whitewash at Wigan. 5/10.”

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