Everyone keeps getting it wrong about Joselu and Stoke City

Joselu (centre) spent a season in the Stoke City first team squad and could affect games particularly from the bench, like at Tottenham when he helped recover from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.
Remember when? Joselu (centre) spent a season in the Stoke City first team squad and could affect games particularly from the bench, like at Tottenham when he helped recover from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. -Credit:PA/Press Association Images

It is doing a disservice to Joselu that pundits and people who should know better keep drawing their own conclusions about his time at Stoke City.

The 34-year-old’s journey to the Champions League final with Real Madrid is a brilliant story of a striker living an unexpected dream. But it’s wrong that he’s been labelled as a Stoke flop or a Stoke reject. He wasn’t an undroppable key figure in his season with the first team, but there’s a long way between that and being a disaster.

He was a useful addition to a strong squad and, like at Real Madrid and with Spain, he showed he could make an impact from the bench during his time in the Premier League. He was a good finisher then as now, and played his part as Stoke finished ninth and reached the League Cup semi-final.

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There were good goals, in a thrilling 4-3 win at Everton, in a 3-1 victory over Alex Neil’s Norwich and success away at Watford and Bournemouth – and he featured in 22 out of 38 league games, although only 10 from the start, and it was fair enough that he wanted more game time.

It is another story entirely that Stoke tried to replace him with Saido Berahion and then landed Wilfried Bony. Bony was given up as finished by the time they landed Berahino the following January and it wasn’t long before the same conclusion was reached on Berahino too.

Joselu went on loan to Deportivo and came back for pre-season in 2017, impressing with clever runs and some fiercely-taken goals, including two beauties at St Pauli in Hamburg.

It was put to Mark Hughes that he might not quite be aggressive enough elbow-pointing kind of striker to really lead the line in England, but Hughes wasn’t really buying that, telling the Sentinel in Hamburg: “He’s a certain type of striker. He’s clearly not the kind of guy who is going to be battering around and throwing elbows into defenders. But he’s an intelligent forward, a clever player who makes good runs. He can pick little pockets of space and he understands if he gets in there then he’s a good finisher. He strikes a ball very cleanly, as any technical player would do.”

Nevertheless, Joselu’s sale was sanctioned, for £5 million to Newcastle United, and it would be another step in his long journey to Wembley and a date with destiny against Borussia Dortmund on June 1. He was third top scorer in La Liga last season as Espanyol were relegated – and made an instant impression as a super sub for Spain along the way – and joined Real on loan for this term. No one quite knows what will happen next.

In his place at Stoke came Jese Rodriguez, who had won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and Maxim Choupo-Moting, who came off the bench for Bayern Munich four minutes after Joselu had come on for Madrid on Wednesday evening at the Bernabeu. But that’s two more other stories.

Club award for Nathan Lowe

Congratulations to Nathan Lowe, who has been named Stoke City community champion for 2023/24.

The 18-year-old striker has thrown himself into projects run by the club’s Community Trust over the last few months, visiting schools and taking part in different events and activities across the city and around Staffordshire.

Head of community Adrian Hurst said: “Our players are very passionate about giving back to the local community and many of them throughout this season have experienced first-hand the benefits of the Community Trust's work.

“Player visibility is an important aspect of being a community conscious club and there is an understanding throughout our squad that it is positive to put something back by engaging positively in such appearances.

“Nathan has shown this in abundance. He has been more than happy to attend any player appearance and to go the extra mile for the supporters and young people he has met throughout the season.”

Stoke City Women ‘confident about direction of travel’

Head coach Marie Hourihan is in a positive mood after Stoke City Women finished fifth in Premier League Northern Division.

“Ultimately the utopia for next season is to get promoted,” she said. “However, we’ve seen today that there are some real big outfits in this league.

“We know there are a lot of battles that we are going to have to overcome but we are confident with the direction the club is going in and the level of resource that we are being provided with will be enough to compete with the other clubs.

“Our job now is to put that all together and have a higher level of consistency for next year.”

Anniversaries this week

May 10 - birthdays: Martin Paterson (38), Henri Camara (47)

May 11 - birthday John Williams (56)

May 11, 1991 - 1-0 defeat to Reading: Mickey Thomas (final league appearance)

May 11, 2002 - 2-0 win over Brentford: promotion sealed in Division Two play-off final; Dean Burton, Arnar Gunnlaugsson, Ian Brightwell, Tony Dinning (final league appearances)

May 12 - birthday: Eddie Stuart (born on this day, 1931)

May 12, 1984 - 4-0 win over Wolves: safety secured in Division One with four goals from Paul Maguire; Paul Maguire, Peter Hampton (final league appearances)

May 13, 1992 - 1-1 draw with Stockport County: Division Three play-off semi-final second-leg, lost 2-1 on aggregate; Ashley Grimes, Noel Blake, Lee Fowler, Adrian Heath (final league appearances)

May 13, 2000 - 3-2 win over Gillingham: Division Two play-off semi-final first leg; Richard Dryden (final league appearance)

May 13, 2001 - 0-0 draw with Walsall: Division Two play-off semi-final first leg; Ben Petty, Mikael Hansson (final league appearances)

May 13, 2012 - 2-2 draw with Bolton: Thomas Sorensen, Ricardo Fuller (final league appearances)

May 14 - birthdays: Tony Ford (65), Louis Moult (32)

May 14, 1977 - 3-1 defeat to West Brom: Penultimate game of season; Dennis Thorley (first league appearance), John Tudor, Brian Bithell (final league appearances)

May 14, 1983 - 4-1 defeat to Tottenham: Paul Bracewell (final league appearance)

May 14, 1985 - 5-1 defeat to West Ham: Alan Dodd (final league appearance)

What is your favourite Joselu memory as a Stoke player? Tell us in the comments section