Players aim to Stoke up club's global reputation

Stoke City's Steven N'Zonzi celebrating after scoring their fifth goal with Mame Biram Diouf.
Stoke City's Steven N'Zonzi celebrating after scoring their fifth goal with Mame Biram Diouf. PHOTO: REUTERS

Stoke City are a football club who are busy going places.

They ended their last English Premier League season with a spectacular 6-1 demolition of Liverpool at their own Britannia Stadium home, as they finished ninth for the second successive season with a club-record total of 54 points.

Next up on the agenda for the Potters is breaking into a hitherto-untapped Asian market with their pre-season involvement in the Barclays Asia Trophy that will be held in Singapore this month.

Stoke will face Everton on July 15 and then take on either Arsenal or the Singapore Select XI on July 18 at the National Stadium.

Their playmaker Charlie Adam believes that the club are ready to increase their global profile.

"It is nice for us to go there and put our name in the market and show we are a good side with good players and moving in the right direction," he said.

Although the heat and humidity will be tough for the team, he believes that the Barclays Asia Trophy is a good platform to strengthen squad cohesion and bed in new signings ahead of the new season.

Said the 29-year-old: "Tours are a good thing to get new players integrated with the team and spend a lot of time together and push on for the next season."

His team-mate Peter Crouch is relishing the prospect of winning the Barclays Asia Trophy, after finishing runners-up with Liverpool in the 2007 Hong Kong edition.

He said: "When you play friendlies all over the place, they cannot mean a great deal, but when you are competing for a trophy, especially against teams that you know and will be competing against, it makes it more interesting.

"That competitiveness will be around and it won't be as friendly as some of the other games in a tournament like this."

Crouch, together with his other team-mates, will bid to use this tournament to signal their ambitions in future league campaigns.

"There are big teams competing in this trophy and it shows how far Stoke have come that we have been asked to play in a tournament like this, and hopefully we can continue the progress of the club," he said.

Low Jay Sen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Players aim to Stoke up club's global reputation'. Print Edition | Subscribe