Stoke City were in complete tatters last season in the Premier League and they managed to secure just 33 points. Having finished at the 19th spot in the league standings, they were relegated to the Championship and thus, they are due to play in the second division this time around. However, the Potters are taking the right steps to mount an immediate return to the top flight of English football.
Gary Rowett was appointed as the manager of the club after Paul Lambert left following their relegation. Rowett has done a remarkable job so far this summer in beefing up his squad and to ensure that the backbone of the club stays strong. A couple of days ago, he lured James McClean to the bet365 Stadium from the ranks of West Bromwich Albion.
McClean started his senior career with Irish outfit, Institute, and then plied his trade for Derry City, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and West Bromwich Albion. Besides, he has represented the Republic of Ireland national side on a regular basis and thus, there is no denying that he has volumes of experience under his belt and is a player of proven pedigree.
Capable of plying his trade as a left-sided midfielder as well as a winger, the 29-year-old is a hard-working player who gives his everything on the pitch. He has the ability to stretch the opposition back line and time and again, he has proven himself to be a useful outlet during his side’s counter-attacking endeavours.
Quite often, it is the lack of his end product that has been roundly criticized though. He toils relentlessly up to the final third but his decision-making ability needs to improve once he nears the penalty box. Under the right guidance, he should be able to brush up his apparent weaknesses and cement a starting spot for himself at Stoke City in the long run. In 30 Premier League appearances last season for the Baggies, McClean scored 1 goal. Besides, he made 1.3 tackles, 0.6 interceptions, 0.5 clearances and 0.1 blocks per game on an average.
Stoke City need proven players who can lead and guide the team on the pitch and someone like McClean certainly fits the bill. He might not be a blockbuster signing but if he clicks under the tactical nous of Rowett, he will turn out to be a useful acquisition. Stoke City have rolled out a transfer fee of £5million to secure his services, which could rise to £6million with add-ons, and at the onset, it seems to be a smart move by Rowett.
Statistics Credits: WhoScored