Mark Hughes says Giannelli Imbula is good to go after chat

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes Giannelli Imbula is ready to start.

Mark Hughes says Giannelli Imbula is good to go after chat
Imbula in action against Tottenham Hotspur. (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty)

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes record signing Giannelli Imbula is good to go, following a heart-to-heart chat with the midfielder.

The £18.3m midfielder was dropped in September, but could be back in the squad to face Watford as other midfielders are unavailable.

Glenn Whelan is still struggling with a calf injury, Joe Allen is suspended and Geoff Cameron is still out through injury, which could free up a spot in midfield for Imbula.

The quotes

Speaking in today’s press conference, Hughes said: “We had a honest conversation when he went out of the team and I made it clear there were aspects of his game he needed to improve is he wanted to progress in a really difficult league.”

Hughes continued by saying that Imbula is working hard and that he’s still young and moving to the Premier League is a big step up for him.

“G is a little frustrated and he was honest enough to say that, given the amount of ability he has, he wasn’t able to impact games.”

Hughes then said he “needed to go out of the team” but there’s been a very good response on the training ground and his focus is getting back into the side.

When asked about his possible return, Hughes said: “It could be this weekend, he’s a viable option given the circumstances. I’d have no qualms involving him.”

How does the side shape up to face Watford?

In the previous game against Bournemouth, Allen dropped into a deeper role alongside Charlie Adam, and Bojan was slotted into the side behind Wilfried Bony.

With the lack of midfield options, Imbula starting depends entirely on whether Whelan is fit enough to play after his calf injury.

If not, Imbula will start alongside Adam, who appears to be higher on the pecking order than the record signing.

Stoke face Watford on Sunday, at 12:00 at Vicarage Road.