Stoke City midfielder Nick Powell could have an important role to play for the Potters this season, according to Rory Delap.
The 25-year-old has struggled to make an impact for Stoke since arriving at the club in the summer, making just three appearances in the Championship.
Powell’s last appearance for Stoke came as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town at the beginning of October, but he returned to the bench for the 2-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.
Delap – who was in caretaker charge of the game at the Bet365 Stadium – has heaped praise on Powell and believes he could have an important role to play for Stoke in the Championship this season.
“He’s trained for a couple of weeks now and is looking sharp in training,” Delap told Stoke-On-Trent Live.
“We’ve had a look at him for Saturday and after the performance on Monday I don’t think any of them can argue about losing their place in the team.
“I thought Sam Clucas was a stand out in terms of his energy and he didn’t give up. But we need more. We can’t have one, two or three of them, we need seven, eight or nine of them that can do that.
“I think Powelly is one of them. He’s good in the air, technically very good and he can run.”
Stoke are currently bottom of the Championship table, six points from safety, and announced Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill as the club’s new manager earlier today, following the sacking of Nathan Jones last week.
Is O'Neill a good appointment for Stoke?
Powell is a good player and he’s got plenty of experience in the Championship, but he’s struggled to make an impact for Stoke since arriving at the club in the summer.
However, he showed for Wigan last season that he’s more than capable of making an impact at this level and he’ll be determined to impress O’Neill and try to force his way into his new manager’s plans.
After returning to the bench against West Brom on Monday night, it’ll be very interesting to see whether he starts against Barnsley tomorrow – in a game that Stoke can’t afford to lose.