Stoke City football chief John Rudge has denied claims they were turned down by former Crewe boss Steve Holland for the Academy's job.

He explained to The Sentinel: "Myself and chief executive Tony Scholes had drawn up a shortlist of four or five candidates for the vacancy, of which Steve Holland was one.

"They were then to be interviewed by chairman Peter Coates and manager Tony Pulis.

"We had spoken to Steve, but we never went as far as actually offering him the job. He had indicated that he wanted to work with more senior players, not just the youth, and that's where it finished because he ended his interest."

Rudge said there had been considerable interest in the post left vacant by George Foster's recent departure to work for Glenn Hoddle's soccer school.