Michael O’Neill has insisted that Benik Afobe is part of plans at Stoke City ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
Afobe joined Stoke from Wolves last season, and has since scored nine goals in 50 appearances for the Potters following his move from Molineux.
Afobe moved on loan to Bristol City in the summer after falling out of favour under Nathan Jones, scoring three goals for the Robins before sustaining a crucial ligament injury in September.
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The striker did recover in time to play a part in City’s final games of the season, featuring seven times following the season’s resumption with his time in Bristol coming to an end.
Afobe will now return to Stoke hoping to make an impact under Michael O’Neill, despite his future in Staffordshire looking uncertain this time last year.
Speaking ahead of Afobe’s return to the bet365 Stadium, Stoke boss Michael O’Neill has insisted that the 27-year-old is part of his plans for next season.
In an interview with the club, O’Neill said: “I’m looking forward to getting Benik back.
“That wouldn’t have been a decision I would have endorsed at the time because he can be a really top player in the Championship.
“He is coming back off injury and he had personal tragedy during the season as well, so I am looking forward to getting Benik back and getting the best out him.”
I fully agree with O’Neill here.
Afobe hasn’t had the best of times since joining Stoke, but he is a quality player at this level and he is a proven goalscorer at Championship level.
If he can work hard in pre-season, get back to full fitness and fit into O’Neill’s tactical set-up, then he could be a really important player for Stoke next season.
He will be keen to get back to his best and reignite his career.