English Premiership

Shaqiri a 'game changer'

2015-08-14 14:45
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke website)

London - Xherdan Shaqiri watched Stoke lose narrowly to Liverpool last weekend, and saw enough to convince him that he was right to become the club's record signing, completing a £12 million move from Inter Milan on Tuesday.

The Swiss winger says he is fit enough to go straight into the starting line-up at White Hart Lane, and seems eager to make a fresh start after a brief and unhappy spell in Italy.

"I am happy that my time there was really short," he said. "Many things were not good."

Although he refused to elaborate, his decision to leave was undoubtedly hastened by a lack of opportunities under boss Roberto Mancini.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes is expected to give an immediate chance to Shaqiri, who he described as a "game changer", when he names his team to face Tottenham.

Hughes' side lacked such a player in last weekend's 1-0 defeat against Liverpool, despite impressive displays from new boys Ibrahim Afellay and Marco van Ginkel, and he is hopeful that his newest signing will ensure they win tight matches, rather than lose them.

"We saw last weekend that the game changed because an individual created something out of nothing," said Hughes, referring to Philippe Coutinho's spectacular winner for Liverpool.

"Xherdan has that ability as well. We need players with a sprinkle of stardust to change games."

Hughes remains without the creative talents of Marko Arnautovic and Bojan Krkic because of injury, although the Spain forward will play for the club's Under-21 side this weekend.

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