Tony Pulis responds to Dave Kitson's claim that he played a part in Aaron Ramsey's leg break

Hull City v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

Dave Kitson caused a stir in his column for The Sun earlier in December.

The former Stoke City striker claimed that Tony Pulis encouraged his players to injure opponents.

Kitson, who retired in 2014, witnessed Ryan Shawcross’ horror tackle on Aaron Ramsey in 2010 and he believes Pulis’ behaviour contributed to the leg-breaking challenge.

“Pulis absolutely despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, hated the way he played,” Kitson wrote in his column.

Reflecting on the week of that game against Arsenal, he added: “In training, I remember doing the set-piece routine from corners.

“I just remember us practising it over and over again, the corner coming in and Pulis screaming: 'Ryan [Shawcross] go across the f****** front - if you miss the ball you f****** well make sure you take someone out.'

“'You put the keeper through the net and into the stand behind. If you miss the ball you make sure you take someone with you.'”

Stoke City's Irish player Glenn Whelan (

Pulis responds to Kitson's claim

The message from Pulis was clear. Stoke’s players were expected to be aggressive and ruffle some feathers.

It would be unfair not to give Pulis, now the manager of Middlesbrough, a platform to have his say and he’s done so in an interview with the Telegraph.

The 60-year-old dismissed Kitson’s claim that he ever told his players to injure an opponent on purpose, calling it “ridiculous”.

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“Football is a physical game, but we've had one player sent off this season and that was for pulling somebody's shirt,” Pulis told the newspaper.

“We've not had anyone sent off for bad tackles or violent conduct this season. If you look at my record, I've had more than 1000 games [as a manager] and if you look at the stats, none of my teams were the dirtiest in the division. We didn't have the most yellow or red cards.

“As for the accusation I would tell my players to deliberately try and injure someone, I won't dignify that question with an answer, that is just a ridiculous statement, ridiculous… it's nonsense.”

Pulis was always likely to deny the claim. But it's very possible that Stoke's players brought into his attitude and, as a result, things went too far.

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