Stoke chief Rudge tracking Euro2008 talent

Stoke City football chief John Rudge is hopeful of unearthing some gems at Euro2008.

He said: "It is all about your contacts and people who can give you information.

"You have to be working hard to see whether or not there might be something that fits the bill. That might be like a (Peter) Hoekstra or a Sergei (Shtaniuk), or it might be a young player.

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"But when you go out there you are meeting people all the time, sometimes even when you are going to matches.

"It may be more important who you speak to and deal with at half-time than the actual game."

Rudge says signing foreign players is more of a gamble than home-grown performers.

However, he has rubbished any suggestion manager Tony Pulis is not open to signing players from abroad.

Rudge also told The Sentinel: "What Tony wants is good players and good players he knows are reliable.

"There is more risk with foreign players.

"You have to judge whether the player can adjust to English football, will his wife settle, has he got children, can he speak the language, is it too cold for him here and will he want to go back home?

"All those aspects come into it and you don't know him as well as you would an English player.

"They have to be better than the players you have here because you are taking risks.

"In Sergei's case, his wife couldn't settle. He still had another 12 months on his contract so we had to sell him.

"She wanted to go back and he had no option. Now, as it happens, he's divorced."

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