With just ten minutes remaining on Sunday afternoon Stoke were losing 1-0 in front of millions watching on TV around the world. The hosts plugged away with their usual tactics of ‘hoof it in the box` but against the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the Manchester United defence, this was never going to cut it. Stoke needed a piece of brilliance, an individual piece of magic, something that Lionel Messi would be proud of.
Paul Scholes then gave the ball to Jones in a rare loose pass. The clubs top goal scorer turned to face the mighty Vidic, just him between Jones and Edwin Van Der Sar`s goal. Would the Caribbean striker continue his fine season to date in remarkable fashion?
Jones dithered on the ball and the chance to take on the Serb had disappeared, he layed it off to Eidur Gudjohnsen could it be him? The 32 year-old has plenty to prove to the Britannia faithful and boasts a good scoring record against Fergies side, but Fletcher, Carrick and Scholes rushed back to ruin Eidur`s chance.
He passed back to Wilson who fizzed a fine first time ball out to Tuncay on the right wing. If ever there was a chance to prove to Pulis that he should be playing all the time, this was it. The Turk ran towards the penalty area, we in the stands held our breath as Jones, Gudjohnsen and Etherington packed the box, which one would he cross for? Tuncay was a man on a very specific mission, he cut inside Patrice Evra, arguably the worlds best left-back and whipped a vicious left foot shot from the edge of the box into the top corner, Lionel Messi like.
Stoke lost in the end but in those few seconds we finally discovered the player we thought we bought 18 months ago. We have seen glimpses of real talent but we needed something more and boy did he provide it. In all fairness Tuncay hasn`t played anywhere near as much as he would have liked during his time here. Pulis has always favoured the Fuller-Sidibe combination and Dave Kitson and James Beattie have both had spells in the team.
There has always been a reason for Tuncay`s exclusion from the first team. Originally he wasn`t ready (it took him 4 months to earn a first league start), then he dropped down the pecking order, then he fell out with Pulis for subbing him, twice. It was certainly an up and down first season but many hoped for a much improved second.
Thus far he has been limited to first team opportunities despite making a big impact in every game he has played. Pulis seems reluctant to give him a go and is relying on a unfit Gudjohnsen, and from what we have seen Tuncay deserves to start, let alone sit on the bench.
He can be frustrating at times but he is a big match player and a dangerous threat at all times. If Pulis continues to freeze him out then he will lose one of the most talented players he is likely to coach. There is a way back for Tuncay, unlike his former team mates Beattie and Kitson.. On Wednesday he will probably start at West Ham in the cup and Pulis demands the same level of performance that he showed on Sunday. And after that confidence boosting cameo, I wouldn`t want to be facing him. This is his chance, will he take it?