Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: I'm Going Nowhere, Insists Stokes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: I'm Going Nowhere, Insists Stokes

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

ANTHONY Stokes last night rejected suggestions that his Sunderland career could be brought to a premature end this month as he outlined his determination to see out his contract in the North-East.

The pounds 2m teenager has started just 13 first-team fixtures since joining the club from Arsenal 12 months ago, but although his future has been called into question in recent times, his commitment remains intact.

Black Cats officials last night completed a deal for Jean-Yves Mvoto - Paris-Saint Germain's promising defensive prospect - and further arrivals are expected before the forthcoming transfer deadline. But although several players are preparing to leave Sunderland as Roy Keane attempts to make room in his first-team squad, a forward desperate to prove his Premier League pedigree is not among them.

"I'm not planning on going anywhere, unless the gaffer has a different outlook," explained the 19-year-old, who impressed against Portsmouth at the weekend having returned to top-flight action following a four-match absence. "I haven't heard anything to that effect and I don't plan to leave. I'm really happy here, I'm enjoying playing for Sunderland and I'm planning to see out my contract."

Stokes is contracted to Sunderland until 2010 but having struggled to command regular action following his arrival from the Emirates, via a successful spell on loan at Falkirk, doubts have persisted about his standing at the club. That Keane has identified Stephen Hunt, Matthew Taylor, Leroy Lita and Jason Roberts among his transfer targets suggests the versatile Dubliner could soon be pushed further down the pecking order.

But having admitted he has yet to showcase his true talents in a red-and-white shirt, Stokes is keen to demonstrate he has what it takes to hold down a first-team place.

"I'll be the first to admit that I've been inconsistent since I came here," said a player who, unlike Greg Halford, Ian Harte, Graham Kavanagh, David Connolly, Ross Wallace and Stephen Wright, isn't surplus to requirements. "It's something I've had to come to terms with - I feel I have and I just want to put it behind me. …

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