This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Stoke City have experienced a dismal start to the 2019/20 Championship campaign under manager Nathan Jones.
After defeating the likes of Lincoln City and Tranmere Rovers in pre-season, the Potters must have been confident of securing a positive result in their opening day clash against Queens Park Rangers.
However, lack-lustre defending allowed the Hoops to secure a 2-1 victory at the bet365 Stadium.
Stoke then suffered a damaging defeat at the hands of Charlton Athletic, which saw them fall into the relegation zone in the Championship.
Since this clash, the Potters have only managed to pick up one point from their last four league fixtures, which has placed boss Jones under a considerable amount of pressure.
Whilst the 46-year-old has somehow been able to hold onto to his job through these turbulent times, it is clear that he needs one of his players to step up to the mark if he is to remain in charge at Stoke.
Although there is no doubting that the Potters have a squad which is brimming with talent, it is clear that they are currently devoid of any confidence.
Therefore, the recent international break may have come at the perfect time as it could have allowed Stoke’s players to regroup following an awful month.
Whilst the likes of Tyrese Campbell and Jack Butland stayed in Staffordshire, Joe Allen was called up to represent Wales in their clashes against Azerbaijan and Belarus.
Despite not being at his brilliant best, the midfielder still managed to illustrate some real signs of promise during both fixtures as Ryan Giggs’ side secured back-to-back victories at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Having played alongside the likes of Gareth Bale, Dan James and Harry Wilson, Allen may be re-energised when he makes his return to training for Stoke.
If this turns out to be the case, the 29-year-old could turn out to be the ideal player to get the Potters out of their current slump.
Considering that he has made 136 appearances in the Championship during his career, Allen knows exactly what it takes to succeed at this level and thus shouldn’t be too fazed about Stoke’s current situation.
Therefore, providing that he can make a return to top form, the former Liverpool man could provide the leadership that the Potters so desperately need following what has been a month to forget in the second-tier.