Stoke City defender Kevin Wimmer has been placed only a special fitness regime by manager Paul Lambert. The new Potters boss is yet to play the Austrian since his arrival at the club in January, but aims to get the defender up to speed as relegation continues to loom.
According to the Telegraph, Wimmer is not considered overweight, but not fit enough to play Paul Lambert's high-pressing style of football. Insiders insist that there has been no falling out between Lambert and Wimmer, despite the defender not featuring for Stoke since their 3-0 defeat against Manchester United in January.
After just two seasons and 15 Premier League appearances with Tottenham, Wimmer signed for Stoke last summer for a fee of £18m. The 25-year-old signed a five-year-deal with the Potters, with then-manager Mark Hughes apparently playing a big role in ensuring Wimmer joined the side.
Stoke paid a bumper fee for the defender, who signed for Spurs two years earlier for just £4.3m. The £18m transfer is just £300,000 less than Stoke's all-time club record spend on Giannelli Imbula the season before.
Wimmer is not the only playing whose fitness is reportedly not up to snuff under the new boss. Lambert also revealed recently that Saido Berahino was not in the squad because he was "not up to my level of fitness."
The club are also sweating over the fitness of striker Mame Biram Diouf, who picked a worrying shoulder injury in their game against Southampton.
Stoke remain in the relegation zone and a point away from safety. Lambert is not prepared to take a risk on any players he has deemed not ready to play in this crucial part of the season. While this does raise questions about Wimmer's own future at Stoke, they will surely aim to get him up to speed quickly to give the Potters another defensive option.