James McClean might turn 31 in a couple of weeks but he could be Stoke City’s Peter Pan.
Michael O’Neill has enjoyed trying to coax the best out of a midfielder who is often in the headlines – and he is sure there is more still to come from a player who was recording career-high fitness statistics over the winter.
The manager said: “For me, he’s been excellent when you look at the number of goals he assisted and the number he’s scored as well.
“So there’s a lot of positive things in his play, but he maybe needs a bit of help tactically and that’s something we continue to work on.
“He came into the game a bit late and from a non Academy-style background, so I still think there’s development in James even though he’s 30/31 and hopefully we can add just a little bit of subtlety to his game as well.
“So there’s more to come from James.”
Ryan Shawcross’s last step to becoming a manager put on hold
Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross has been spending his time ringing supporters when he should have been back playing football – and taking a huge step on his path to eventually becoming a manager.
Last month, he was due to start the fifth and final level coaching badge – the Uefa Pro Licence with the Welsh FA. It’s now unlikely to begin until November.
Still, a future Stoke manager?
What is Stoke City DNA? Three words to explain what it means
The term Stoke City DNA has been used, overused and, in recent years, hunted like it’s Indiana Jones and his dad trying to find the holy grail.
But what exactly is it?
Tony Pulis started to talk about it back more than a decade ago when he was trying to improve the ability of the hard-working squad which won promotion to the Premier League without losing any of its character.