• Premier League

Hughes calls on Pennant to earn Stoke fans' love

ESPN staff
June 18, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Jermaine Pennant found himself out of favour at Stoke under Tony Pulis © PA Photos
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Mark Hughes has challenged Jermaine Pennant to win over sceptical Stoke City fans and become part of his new-look side on a regular basis, after handing the controversial winger a new one-year contract.

Pennant's existing contract ran out at the Britannia Stadium earlier this month, but after positive talks with the new manager the winger has agreed a heavily-incentivised new deal.

The 30-year-old has been handed a basic salary with bonuses for appearances and goals after impressing Hughes with his desire to make a fresh start at the club he joined from Real Zaragoza.

Hughes is determined to add a more attacking dimension to the team after succeeding Tony Pulis and feels a fully motivated Pennant still has plenty to offer in the Premier League.

"I had a very positive meeting with him and it's now up to him to show everyone what he is capable of doing," Hughes said.

"I've admired Jermaine from afar and there is no question about his ability. I am looking to introduce more creativity and attacking options to the side, qualities Jermaine can certainly offer us."

Pennant was interesting newly-promoted Hull City and his former manager Steve Bruce and also had offers to move to the MLS, but has made it clear he wants another opportunity after being frozen out by Pulis last season.

The new deal also has in place the prospect of a further 12-months, depending on Pennant's performances next season and Stoke's chief executive Tony Scholes said: "We have been impressed with Jermaine's determination to prove any doubters wrong.

"He clearly had a difficult time last season, but the Stoke fans love him and he loves them. We believe that at 30 years of age, he still has a lot to offer.

"The one-year contract, which has the option to be extended beyond that, has been structured in a way which should ensure he focuses on his performances on the field."

Pennant joined Stoke in 2010 in a loan deal from Zaragoza, before making his switch permanent later in the same year. He has made more than 70 appearances for the club, but was sent out for a three-month loan spell with Wolves last season.

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