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Etherington: It will be sad to see Wilkinson leave Stoke

Former Stoke City winger Matthew Etherington will be sad to see Andy Wilkinson leave the Britannia Stadium at the end of the season.

Having made his debut for Stoke back in 2001 as a teenager, hard-nosed defender Wilkinson has been one of the most integral parts in facilitating the Potters' rise from a struggling Championship side to an established Premier League team in the space of a decade.

Therefore, it is clear to see that Wilkinson loves Stoke dearly and the fans also reciprocate their affections towards the defender.

However in recent years, injuries as well as increased competition has meant that Wilkinson has only featured sparingly and the 30-year old has not made a single Premier League appearance so far this term.

As a result, it is certain that Wilkinson will be leaving the Britannia Stadium following the expiration of his contract at this summer and former teammate Etherington has stated that it will be a sad day for everyone at the club to see the defender depart.

Etherington wrote in his column for the Stoke Sentinel: 'It will be sad to see Andy Wilkinson leave the club this summer, not least because there will no longer be a local lad in the senior dressing room. Andy has picked up just about every injury it's possible to pick up down the years because of the way he played his football.

'He was a terrific professional who played with his heart and always got the maximum out of his ability. The fans loved him for that, and because he was local, and he was equally valued and respected by his teammates.

'Andy's got a young family now and may have to move away and live in digs at his next club. That won't be easy after living at home all this time, but he will want to get some games in and so that will be a sacrifice he'll be prepared to make.

'And as I can now vouch Andy, football is a very short career and you have to make the most of it while you can.'

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