We profile three Stoke men to keep an eye on.
Bosnian international Asmir Begovic has excelled in the Barclays Premier League since joining Stoke City from Portsmouth back in February 2010.
The 25-year-old joined Pompey’s youth team at the age of 16 and, after loan spells with multiple Football League clubs, he made his debut against Sunderland in 2009 with Pompey running out 3-1 winners.
Begovic played 15 times during the 2009-10 campaign before joining the Potters for a reported fee of £3.25m.
Since joining Stoke, Begovic has turned out multiple man-of-the-match performances and he’s reportedly attracted interest from the Barclays Premier League’s elite clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea.
Begovic has been capped 19 times by Bosnia and Herzegovina, though he has also been capped at youth level by Canada.
Ryan Shawcross has become one of the best central defenders in the Barclays Premier League; his marked progress in his six years with the Potters being rewarded with his first England cap in 2012.
Having progressed through the youth ranks at Manchester United, Shawcross made two League Cup appearances for the champions before joining Stoke City on loan in 2007.
Shawcross impressed in his spell with the Potters prompting them to make the deal permanent in January in 2008.
City were promoted to the Barclays Premier League in Shawcross’ first season and he has since proved an integral part of Tony Pulis’ side.
In total, he has made 238 appearances for the Potters, scoring 19 times.
Republic of Ireland international Jonathan Walters has played over 130 times for Stoke since joining from Ipswich Town in 2010.
Walters began his career as a youth with Blackburn Rovers before joining Bolton Wanderers and subsequently Hull City where he played 41 times as the Tigers achieved back-to-back promotions between 2003 and 2005.
After finding goals hard to come by at Hull, Walters joined Wrexham and then Chester where he began to show his real potential.
After impressing for Chester against Ipswich in an FA Cup tie, the Tractor Boys paid £150,000 for Walters’ service in January 2007.
The 29-year-old played 146 games for Ipswich before Tony Pulis signed him for the Potters in 2010.