Earle backs Stoke boss Hughes over Pennant deal
The former Jamaica World Cup player told The Sentinel: "Stoke could spend millions trying to sign someone with Pennant's ability, so a one-year contract for this free agent seems well worth the gamble.
"The fact it is a gamble at all is because of apparent off-the-field issues which seemed to exasperate Tony Pulis so much that he wouldn't play Pennant last season.
"There were reports of missed curfews, but they weren't confirmed by the club, so we don't know exactly what got Tony's goat.
"However, Mark Hughes, below, is a new manager at Stoke so it is much easier for him to offer Pennant a clean slate without feeling the decision undermines his authority.
"The one-year deal gives Pennant every incentive to perform. If he's poor next year then I doubt very much that he'd get a club as good as Stoke next summer."