Stoke City supporters have been reasonably upbeat in recent times after seeing their side head into the two-week break for internationals unbeaten in their last four Championship games.
Gary Rowett’s men went into their encounter with high-flying Nottingham Forest last time out having lost just one of their previous seven matches in the league, and having kept clean sheets in each of their preceding two games. And while they added another to that tally last weekend, they weren’t able to get the win in drawing 0-0 at the City Ground, a result that moved the Potters up to 14th place in the Championship table.
As such, there have been many satisfied Stoke fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are hoping for even more from their side as the season wears on after their reasonably shrewd recruitment during the summer.
Yet it is one of the club’s longer serving stars, namely defender Erik Pieters, who has once proven his worth to the Staffordshire-based club this term, with new boss Rowett very much reaping the rewards from Mark Hughes’ excellent call to sign the Dutchman back in 2013.
Ultimately, former manager Hughes, now in charge of Southampton, was brought in by the Stoke hierarchy back in the summer of 2013 in a bid to build upon the work done by Tony Pulis to establish the club in the Premier League, with the arrival of Pieters for £3.24 million (as per Transfermarkt) one of his first additions.
And what a shrewd acquisition he has proven to be in the last five years or so, what with the 30-year-old having become a stalwart in the Stoke side during his time at the bet365 Stadium.
Pieters, capped 18 times by his country, has played 199 times for the Potters of which 169 have come in the Premier League, what with the accomplished left back a regular feature in the Stoke side during their time in the top-flight.
In fact, Pieters made at least 31 Premier League appearances in each of his five full seasons at the club to underline just how important he was to the Potters, at the same time emphasising his high-level of consistency to command regular top tier football every week.
And he has continued to prove his worth this time round as well under Rowett, scoring twice and laying on an assist in 15 Championship appearances for the Staffordshire-based club, helping them to a solid if unspectacular start to the new second tier season.
Yes, he has failed to appear in their last two matches, in which time Rowett’s men have kept two clean sheets, but on the whole Pieters has been a mainstay under the new Stoke boss to suggest that he will play a key part for the club as the season wears on.
And given Hughes spent just £3.24 million luring him to the bet365 Stadium little over five years ago, there’s little doubting that the 30-year-old has paid that transfer sum back and more, with Rowett now reaping the rewards from the former manager’s excellent 2013 call.
Stoke fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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