No sooner has the door closed on the European Championships than the Premier League pauses for an international break. Eight Stoke City first team players are on international duty in the coming week. The Potters are well-represented in raft of fixtures including: African Cup of Nations, World Cup and European Championship U-21 Qualifiers.
The action for Stoke City’s European cohort centres on group D. The group will see Welshman Joe Allen and Austrian Marko Arnautovic locking horns with Irishmen Glenn Whelan and Jonathon Walters. They will compete against each other the course of the season as their respective teams look to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
This Monday, Joe Allen’s Wales will face Moldova in Cardiff. Republic of Ireland’s Whelan and Walters will kick their campaign off in Belgrade where they will face Serbia.
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Daniel Bachmann is in the Austrian U-21 squad for their upcoming games against Finland on Friday and Russia next Tuesday, with the youngster in reserve for the senior team should his services be required.
Stoke City’s global reach
Further afield, Stoke’s early summer signing 19 year-old Egyptian Ramadan will face Guinea and South Africa in friendly matches. The Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers draw to a close with Stoke City’s Mame Diouf likely to be in action for Senegal. They face Namibia on Tuesday with the already-qualified West African side looking to make it six wins from six.
The defensively versatile Geoff Cameron will aim to help his USA side finish top of their CONCACAF qualifying group. USA have two fixtures, including a home tie against current group leaders Trinidad and Tobago. He will want to add to his goal tally having scored in the 4-0 defeat of Guatemala in March.
The pause in the domestic schedule has come at a good time for Mark Hughes. With Stoke bottom of the Premier League table on goal difference, Hughes could do with the thinking time. The club has hinted at the desire to bring fresh faces before this window closes. No doubt Hughes will be wanting to blend the old with new when the players report back for league duty.