Mr Underrated

Marc Wilson Bournemouth

It seems strange that a player could leave the club after six years of service with very little fanfare.

But that is the situation with Marc Wilson, who is returning to the South Coast to join Bournemouth.

Wilson joined Stoke in a player exchange plus cash deal with Portsmouth- Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson heading the other way- and made his Stoke debut in central midfield, impressing in a victory against Aston Villa.

His early time at Stoke saw him battle to become a regular in the centre of midfield, scoring his first- and ultimately only- goal for the club against Blackburn on Boxing Day, 2010.

But it was to be the left back berth that Wilson made his own. Despite being right footed, Tony Pulis perceived Wilson to be the best option ahead of the out of form Danny Collins and the injured Danny Higginbotham.

He played every match of Stoke’s 2011 FA Cup run, ultimately ended in the final by Manchester City, and featured in six of The Potters’ Europa League fixtures.

Despite Wilson’s prominence in the starting line-up, he struggled to become a fan favourite- often the scapegoat for poor team performances- but his displays earned deserved international recognition, with Wilson opting to represent Republic of Ireland over his native Northern Ireland.

A broken leg in 2012 curtailed his season, but he returned strongly, making 60 Premier League appearances under Mark Hughes over two campaigns. But he was phased out of the side last year, with his season ultimately ended by a knee ligament injury picked up in the FA Cup.

Thus, his final act on the pitch as a Stoke player was to lie in a heap at the end of a disappointing cup defeat at Crystal Palace.

But he should not be remembered for that, and nor should he go down in history for his openness on social media. Regardless of what he has said in the past couple of weeks, his time at Stoke was clearly coming to an end.

He now rejoins a club with whom he enjoyed two loan spells back in 2007.

Bournemouth will be getting a solid defender for a snip of a fee and, at 28, Wilson still has plenty to offer.

Good luck, Marc.

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