Mark Hughes admits the performances of Joe Allen have been Stoke’s one “shining light” this season.
The midfielder scored his first goal for the Staffordshire outfit with a 73rd-minute strike against West Brom on Saturday – an effort that looked set to seal Stoke’s maiden Premier League win of the season before Salomon Rondon’s stoppage-time header ensured the game at the Bet365 Stadium finished 1-1.
Allen produced a very creditable display against the Baggies and has impressed in general since joining from Liverpool over the summer.
And Hughes said of the 26-year-old Wales international: “I think he left Liverpool because he wanted to play week in, week out, we are giving him that opportunity, and in every game he plays he has an influence.
“He has been the shining light for us this season – the one who has been really hitting the levels expected of him.
“Maybe some of the guys are still trying to get a level of form up to this point, but we have never had any issue with Joe in terms of his form.
“He has hit the ground running and been excellent since he walked through the door.”
Allen played in quite an advanced position on Saturday, and Hughes added: “Joe has so many elements to his play, he has so much energy, and he can play in any number of positions.
“I think he enjoys being further advanced. He has good anticipation of things dropping around the box and that is what showed with his goal.
“Certainly I think it is something he is adept at and where he can be an influence for us. In certain games he’ll play there and in others we’ll need him to do other things.”