Stokes and father back down over transfer claims

Celtic striker and his father have both denied that the player is unhappy at Parkhead.

Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

CELTIC STRIKER ANTHONY STOKES has quickly moved to distance himself from reports that he was ready to hand in a transfer request, indicating that he is determined to stay and fight for his place in Neil Lennon’s first-team.

Rumours of Stokes’ dissatisfaction began to surface yesterday after the striker was left on the bench during Celtic’s 2-1 defeat to Rangers in the CIS Cup Final against Rangers.

Despite having scored five goals in the tournament’s earlier rounds this season, Stokes was overlooked by Lennon who opted instead to introduce Giorgios Samaras to partner Gary Hooper up front.

The player’s disappointment at being omitted became clear when his father and former agent, Dublin publican John Stokes, apparently told reporters on Sunday night that Stokes was considering a transfer request.

Yesterday’s Scottish Sun carried quotes from Stokes Sr who claimed that “Anthony should go somewhere where they appreciate him.”

It is crazy Anthony didn’t play when he is Celtic’s top scorer. Neil Lennon needs to understand that.

He isn’t going to be at Celtic if he isn’t going to play against Rangers or in the big games. My advice to him is to move from Celtic and put in an immediate transfer request.

I think he will because he has told me he wants out.

However, in a tweet which appears to have been sent from his personal account yesterday, Stokes reassured fans that he is “going nowhere.”

Following his son’s clear denial that he is unhappy, John Stokes has also moved to distance himself from the comments which were reported yesterday, claiming that they were completely taken out of context and bore little resemblance to the conversation which he had with reporters on Sunday.

I was at a function with friends in the bar and Scottish reporters turned up. I never said anything about Anthony putting in a transfer request. I’m delighted he’s at Celtic and so is he.

We’re all Celtic supporters here and anyone who knows me understands how happy I am to see Anthony wearing the hoops. I haven’t been Anthony’s agent for four years and I have no say in what he does or doesn’t do in his career.

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Stokes may have an opportunity to put the mess behind him as early as this weekend. As he has not been named in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for the forthcoming games against Macedonia and Uruguay, there is a chance that he will travel with Celtic to Spain where they take on Athletic Bilbao in a friendly on Saturday evening.

Read more in Daniel McDonnell’s article in today’s Irish Independent >

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Niall Kelly

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