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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Begovic: I would have played

Asmir Begovic has tried to clear the air after manager Tony Pulis claimed the goalkeeper refused to play against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup, maintaining there was a misunderstanding.

• Pulis slams 'disrespectful' Begovic
• Taylor: Striking players breach contract

Begovic, who arrived from Portsmouth last season, has been linked with a move away from the Britannia Stadium. However, he is apparently distraught at suggestions he failed to turn up for work.

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes said: ''The PFA would not condone a player refusing to play for his club. But Asmir was at great pains to make it clear to me and the wider public that at no stage had he actually said that he refused to play for the club.

''I think it's common knowledge now that there has been a bid received. From Asmir's point of view he says that he had a conversation with the manager in which he was asked whether he was 100% fit and ready to play.

''Asmir's take is that he had indicated that his mind was a little bit scrambled by things and that probably if there was an alternative it would be best if he didn't play. But he is at great pains to say at no stage did he say that he wouldn't play, and had he been asked to play he would have done so.''

Barnes added on Sky Sports News: ''Managers will ask players - whether it be to do with an injury or a personal issue - is it something that you think you can clear your mind of and be able to play 100%? A player would give an honest answer to that.

''In this particular case - and I haven't spoken to Tony, who might have an alternative view - Asmir was adamant that he would have played if he was asked to play.

''But the question was 'are you 100% able mentally to play?' The answer has been a negative one and on that basis the manager has made a decision.''

Carlo Nash, who arrived from Everton in the summer, was between the posts - with No.1 Thomas Sorensen on the bench - as the team secured a place in the third round. And Nash is determined to win over Pulis should Begovic leave the Britannia Stadium.

He told the Sentinel: ''There is speculation about Asmir but we get on with our jobs. If that is the route he takes, and if the offer is right, then that is for the club to decide. As far as I am concerned, I just want to have a chance to play. If I can get that I am very happy.''

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