This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Player view’ series, this content strand is where we put ourselves in the shoes of a given player, and offer an opinion-based outlook on the perspective on the situation at hand…
Two games into the new Championship season, and Stoke’s summer transfer window squad overhaul has yet to spark the expected, and you feel required, upturn in results for Nathan Jones’ side.
Already this season, The Potters have suffered defeats to last season’s strugglers QPR, and newly-promoted relegation favourites Charlton Athletic, to leave them pointless and languishing in the Championship relegation zone in the early standings.
While it is clearly way too soon in the campaign for concerns to arise around the club’s status in the Championship, there will already be certain members of the squad who will be feeling the pressure of Stoke’s poor start to the season.
One such player who may be worrying about his place even at this early stages of the campaign, is one of those numerous recruits to have made the move to the bet365 Stadium over the course of the transfer window.
Having joined from QPR earlier in summer, Jordan Cousins was handed his debut in that 2-1 defeat to his former club, but, by the time the trip to The Valley came around this weekend, the holding midfielder had dropped to the bench.
In his place came Ryan Woods, who it is thought had been set to leave the club earlier in the summer transfer window, after struggling to hold down a place in the side under Jones in the latter half of last season.
But with Woods having evidently impressed enough for Jones to admit he was wrong to substitute him – not for Cousins it should be noted – and now confirm that he has forced his way back into contention this season, it now seems that Cousins has another rival to compete with for a place in the Potters starting XI.
Given the way that battle has begun, there may be some element of concern for Cousins around his move to Stoke right now.
With Woods being given the nod at Charlton on Saturday, and Jones since making that admission about the 25-year-old’s substitution, it does feel as though Cousins is going to have his work cut out if he is to make himself a regular feature ahead of Woods in Stoke colours this season.
Given those links with a move away from Stoke that surrounded Woods earlier in the summer, you wonder whether Cousins would have actually been expecting this particular source of competition for his place in the side this season.
Indeed, had that been the case, it could also be questioned if Cousins would have backed himself to make the move, given he had just enjoyed his most productive campaign in terms of first-team opportunities with QPR, something which may now have taken a hit as a result of Woods’ apparent resurgence at Stoke.
That of course is not to say that Cousins is simply going to be throwing in the towel at Stoke this early in the season and his time at the club.
It does, however, heighten the pressure on him to perform to a level that will allow him to keep his place in Nathan Jones’ side, although you feel that in Woods’ own resurgence is something that Cousins can look to as a motivating factor to help force his way back into the starting XI.
That may not be something that will come easily, given the pressure and expectation to push for the Premier League that Stoke are under, but if Cousins can do that, he will surely know that it is something that can only benefit himself, and his new side.