Michael O’Neill explains why he signed Jordan Thompson and his impact at Stoke City so far


Newcomer Jordan Thompson has received the Stoke City seal of approval from fellow midfielders Joe Allen and Sam Clucas.

So says boss Michael O’Neill who says the 23 year-old Belfast boy, a regular face in recent matches before the current break, has brought an added hunger to his squad.

O’Neill, who made Thompson a top priority in the January window before landing him from Blackpool for an undisclosed fee, said: “We knew what we were bringing in with Jordan.

“He’s a player I obviously know well because I’ve seen him play from a young age, from under-17 international football with Northern Ireland when he was a Manchester United player.

“I’ve followed his career very closely and seen how he’s dealt with disappointment and fought his way back to get to this club.

“What we identified in Jordan was a player who’d bring a hunger to the training and a hunger to the team as well.

“And he was also real value for money, which is hard to find in the Championship.

“I think sometimes you see what the club has spent in other areas in the past and not had a great return for that, so I think Jordan coming in has been a real plus.

“He’s a really gifted left-footed player. I think he’s learning all the time and whether he plays at the base of a midfield three, or the left of a three, he give us options.

“He’s got a good delivery from set pieces as well, so there’s a lot of positives from his performances and he’s fitted well into the club.”

Jordan Thompson signed for Stoke City from Blackpool in January

O’Neill learned all he wanted to know about Thompson after watching him in the Northern Ireland youth teams before blooding him at senior level ahead of his move to Stoke.

He continued: “Jordan’s had a little bit of exposure at senior international level and part of that was possibly because of the level he was playing his club football at (with Blackpool), which meant he was having to try and get ahead of players who were playing in the Championship or possibly the Premier League.

“So it made it difficult with him playing League One football, but we always believed Jordan was capable of playing at a higher level.

“He’s proving that at this minute in time with Stoke.

“I never felt, having watched him come into the international team, even when he was with Blackpool at League One, that he looked out of place.

“So stepping into the building here, you see the reaction of players like Sam Clucas and Joe Allen, you can see they really rate him as a player.

“So the onus is on Jordan now to take that forward and really build a strong career here at Stoke.

“He just has to maintain his form. He doesn’t have to go out and think he has to do anything extraordinary or anything different to what he’s been doing.

“I think we will see a player who will grow in confidence and I think supporters will see, as time goes on, a better player than they are seeing at this minute in time and that’s the most important thing.

“We have to make sure that the focus of the player is his job in the team.”





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