Wilkinson ‘tentative’ against Toon

Wilkinson, renowned for his no-nonsense style, came in for

criticism after he left Fulham frontman Dembele with damaged ankle

ligaments. A full-blooded challenge during a Carling Cup encounter

did for the Cottagers ace, who is now facing up a prolonged spell

on the sidelines. Wilkinson believes the issue has been ‘blown out

of proportion’, but has revealed that he adopted a more tentative

approach during Sunday’s 2-1 win over Newcastle. “It was a bit

disappointing, that tackle, because it took away from our play on

Tuesday,” he said in The Sentinel. “The gaffer gave me the nod for

Newcastle and said ‘don’t change’, but I was a bit more tentative.”

Wilkinson acknowledges that it would be difficult for him to remove

that competitive streak from his game, and he plans to put the

recent furore behind him and turn his attention back to the

business of helping Stoke to pick up points. He added: “The tackle

was blown out of proportion. There’s a million worse tackles than

that, but it all goes over my head. “I love playing for this club

and when I do play, you know what I’m going to give. “I just hope I

can keep playing and we can keep getting results.”