‘Were you watching Nuno?’ – Bruno Martins Indi rolls back the years to lead Stoke City at Wolves



Whether it was the captain’s armband or the chance to play against the manager who shunned him, this was a big night for Bruno Martins Indi.

The 28-year-old’s voice reverberated around the empty bowl of a stadium at Wolves as he guided Stoke City to a 1-0 win and into the third round of the Carabao Cup.

He was up against Adama Traore alongside young defenders Harry Souttar and Nathan Collins, a pair who didn’t really put a foot wrong as they were kept alert for 90 minutes, and he produced his best performance in a long time.

He was calm, commanding, focused and even slipped in a couple of excellent through balls to set Stoke up on a counter-attack when they, at times, were pegged back right in their own half.

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Were you taking note Nuno Espirito Santo?

Nuno, now in charge at Wolves, had ostracised Martins Indi when he took over at Porto back in 2016 and sanctioned his move to Stoke. At the time, the defender was 24 and had helped Porto reach the Champions League quarter-finals and Netherlands the World Cup semis.

To be fair, Nuno has done all right since taking over at Molineux but this win against the odds must have been a nice moment.

Michael O’Neill reckons that the left of a back three – having filled in as an emergency full-back in the second half of last season – is his best position.

Perhaps it’s his only position after the arrival of Morgan Fox as a bona fide left-back and the level of competition if O’Neill does switch to a straight back four.

But Stoke have now kept five clean sheets in their last seven games, a back three is helping them look hard to beat on the road and there is a new wave of optimism threatening to carry the club along through the new season.

Martins Indi, if he can carry on where he left off last night, will be a loud and large part of what happens next.





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