Michael O’Neill believes Nick Powell is proving he is a man for all seasons and all occasions after scavenging Stoke City’s late equaliser at Reading.
Powell struck with a close-range header in the 92nd minute to ensure Stoke’s return to action after 105 days was not without reward at a deserted Madejski Stadium.
O’Neill was also impressed with how his players adapted to the strange build up and environment as the coronavirus pandemic continues to dictate everyday life.
There’s a quick and easy way to stay on top of all the Stoke City news with our daily newsletter.
Delivered straight into your email inbox each day, the bulletins will feature the latest Potters news, views, gossip and opinion.
All you have to do is click here and punch your email. And what’s more, it’s absolutely free!
“Nick was terrific,” O’Neill enthused. “To begin with, we played him where he’s played the last few games, on the left, then we moved him to his more favoured position as a `10’.
“Some of his play was excellent, but there was also his work-rate and he took a lot of responsibility at times in the game when we needed someone to lift us and get us playing.
“I always get frustrated with draws, but a draw in the Championship at a place like Reading is a well-earned point.
“The players are coming off a long lay off and I do think it’s more difficult to be the away team at the moment with the difficulties of travelling etc.
“It’s not normally how we do things, but hopefully we will be better for the experience.
“At times it was a bit of a surreal feel without any natural atmosphere in the ground and it’s something the players will have to adapt to.
“We certainly can’t let it distract from our focus because what’s at stake is so much.”
Stoke’s late draw left them dropping a spot as they now sit four places and two points above the drop zone, but with the morale-booster of that late equaliser to extend their unbeaten run to five ahead of successive `six-pointers’ against Middlesbrough, Wigan and Barnsley.