Joey Barton has issued a glowing reference on Stoke City defender Harry Souttar – and revealed why his form has probably improved so much on loan at Fleetwood Town.
Much will depend on which division Stoke are in – and Fleetwood too as they are gunning for promotion from League One under Barton.
Speaking about Souttar, Barton says: “He was in the limbo between Stoke’s first team and under-23s, so that didn’t make for the best pre-season for him.
“He came in a little behind our group, but has just gone from strength to strength.
“He’s shown enormous maturity. He has changed a couple of things in terms of his personal regime and lifestyle, and it’s really paying dividends.”
Talking to Fleetwood today, he added: “It’s always nice to see a young player come in and start to show the quality Soutts does and he’s turning into an outstanding defender.
“We have some really good players, all desperate to improve.”
And they may include Glenn Whelan, even at the ripe old age of 36, after the former Stoke midfielder joined until the end of the season.
He has played eight times for Fleetwood and helped them to five wins and three draws to propel them to lie two points outside the League One play-offs with two games in hand.