Recently engaged Potters manager Michael O’Neill has revealed that Nigeria international and former Feirense star Peter Oghenekaro Etebo is not injured and his absence from regular action is down to his loss of form.
The Super Eagles and Stoke City midfielder has been battling with his fitness since making a return from the injury that kept him out of action for months.
Etebo made the substitute bench when the Potters visited Cardiff City – a 1-0 loss – on November 26 but he was surprisingly left out of the matchday squad in the 2-1 home loss to Blackburn Rovers.
The Nigeria international was a regular feature, prior to his injury, under former manager Nathan Jones who was sacked at the end of October after just nine months in charge of the Championship club.
The Welsh manager was replaced by O’Neill who has snubbed Peter Etebo, having preferred the midfield trio of Ryan Woods, Joe Allen and Sam Clucas whom he has largely deployed during his four games at the helm.
“Peter hasn’t really been at the levels since he came back from injury,” O’Neill told stokesentinel.
“The midfield three we’ve played, I think, have been fairly consistent,” he continued.
“Badou played in the game at Cardiff and I just felt we looked more potent with Sam Clucas playing there, as opposed to where we played him against Cardiff (left flank for the suspended James McClean).
“We have to look at what we see during the week and make an assessment of where the players are and what they can bring to the game on a Saturday.
“Every player has a chance of playing. We haven’t cast any player aside.
“We have to manage the group, which is a big group, until January and then make an assessment about which players going forward can get us out of the situation we are in.”
Peter Etebo has featured only 11 times for Stoke City this term. The Nigeria international also missed the 2019 AFCON tournament hosted by Egypt where the Super Eagles picked up a bronze medal.