Team: Stoke City

Key players:

Jack Butland

In 2013, Jack Butland emerged as the next big name in terms of goalkeeping. With teams likes Chelsea and Manchester United chasing him, his decision to join Stoke City came as a pleasant surprise to many. At the age of 22, Butland has a long career ahead of him. Butland has big boots to fill following the departure of Bosnian international and first-choice Stoke goalkeeper for years, Asmir Begovic. A good season as Stoke’s number one will help him live up to what is expected from him. A potential place in the English squad for Euro 2016 will do his confidence no harm and, in years to come, he could dominate the goalkeeping department in England.

• Bojan Krkic

Bojan began his career at Barcelona and immediately stunned the Camp Nou as he became the club’s youngest player, breaking the record of Lionel Messi. He was 17 years and 19 days old at the time. Next he became the club’s youngest Champion’s League player and their youngest goal scorer. Bojan has been consistent performer for Stoke City and has shown glimmers of the world-class player that he was once touted to be. There are no doubts regarding his performances, but Mark Hughes would want to save his best player from injuries and keep him fit for the entire season.


Stoke have a history of signing fallen or falling stars whose price may be low but whose contribution may still be high. Prime examples come in the form of prized products of the Barcelona youth academy, Ibrahim Afellay and Moha El Ouriachi. His tenure as the manager of Stoke City has helped him re-build his image after disasterous seasons with Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City. Stoke City have everything that is required to push for a European spot and if they do, it will be a massive coup for Mark Hughes and his boys and the club itself.

Predicted position: 8th