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The tale of two talismans


Clubs unfazed by England delay

Stoke manager Tony Pulis and West Ham co-owner David Gold have said they are unworried by their clubs' England players returning from Poland 24 hours later than scheduled.

The World Cup qualifier against the Poles, scheduled to be played on Tuesday night, was delayed until Wednesday afternoon because of torrential rain.

Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross and Hammers striker Andy Carroll are part of Roy Hodgson's squad, and Gold told ESPN: "It's not ideal, but it's only a short flight and they should be home and in their own beds on Wednesday night."

Pulis has said he does not believe the extra 24 hours Shawcross must spend in Poland will affect his team's attempt to end a miserable run of defeats at Old Trafford this weekend.

Pulis expected to have his captain back at his disposal on Wednesday as he looks to win his first points at Manchester United since returning to the Premier League in 2008.

He knows the players' delayed return is far from ideal, but has no doubt that Shawcross will be unaffected ahead of the visit to Old Trafford.

"You can't do anything about it now and I've got no worries about Ryan ahead of Saturday," he told The Sentinel.

"We're training in the afternoon rather than the morning, so that gives him a bit of extra time. In the old days, they used to play internationals on the Wednesday anyway, so it's nothing new really.

"And with Saturday in mind, I suppose you could look at it we've got one player out there and United have got four."


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