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Jack Butland slams "farcical" Stoke City signings

Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland slams his side's "farcical" recruitment process for bringing in "players you cannot rely on" following their relegation.

Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland has told the club that they must sort out their "farcical" recruitment process if they are to recover from their relegation to the Championship.

A 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday saw Stoke's 10-year stay in the Premier League come to an end, with the Potters now sitting bottom of the table with just one match remaining.

Paul Lambert has struggled with disciplinary problems since taking over at the bet365 Stadium, with Jese Rodriguez going AWOL and never returning to the club last month while both Saido Berahino and Ibrahim Afellay have been banished from the first-team squad.

"I think the whole recruitment process needs looking at. There have been transfers that aren't even part of the squad for all kinds of reasons, whether it be discipline, whether it be lack of performance. You've got to look at that - what decisions are being made and the type of characters," Butland told reporters.

"Look at [January arrivals] Badou [Ndiaye] and Moritz Bauer - two positive signings. But you look at others and they're not even here to have an input. It's not because they were playing at the top of their game, because if they were they'd be here. Too many of the recent investments over the years are completely unused and that's unacceptable. So before anyone is signed and any changes happen, that's got to be looked at because it's been farcical really.

"I believe Paul's had an extremely difficult job. He inherited a squad where, unfortunately, there was ill-discipline and players you cannot rely on. Despite those scenarios, he's put together a really competitive side that's willing to work for him. I believe the manager is the right man for the job."

Stoke's final game of their decade-long stay in the Premier League will come away to Swansea City on Sunday.

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Jese celebrates during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Arsenal on August 19, 2017
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States22251764
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events

· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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