Could EPL Top Talent Perform on Cold Tuesday Night at Stoke? We'll Never Know...

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2013

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Charlie Adam of Stoke celebrates with teammates Peter Crouch (L) and Jon Walters (R) after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Norwich City at the Britannia Stadium on April 27, 2013 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It's often said of foreign stars, either plying their trade abroad or being transferred to clubs in the English Premier League, that they would struggle to face up to the harsh matches played in the depths of winter at unwelcoming stadiums.

In fact, the entire thing has become a bit of a joke in some circles, especially on social networks, where the merest glimpse of an exciting player, with plenty of flair about his game and who plays in perhaps a Mediterranean country, is immediately cast aside as not good enough—tongue in cheek, of course.

"But could he do it on a cold Tuesday night at Stoke?!"

So goes the off-hand comment, a double barb implying that Stoke is hardly the most enticing place of all to be playing pretty football, as well as the incapabilities of those skillful foreigners to mix it with the more physical side of the game.

But many things are changing at Stoke these days, not least of all the manager. Out has gone Tony Pulis this summer, replaced by Mark Hughes. One of Hughes' first dealings as Stoke boss was to bring in former Barcelona B defender Marc Muniesa, a move seemingly unthinkable only a month or two previous.

Hughes has now also made another change for Stoke, and it's one which could see an end to the above phrase being widely used.

Following Premier League approval, Hughes has had Stoke's home midweek Premier League matches moved to Wednesday's henceforth, as per the official club website.

This season, that switch affects matches against Cardiff City in December, and fellow Welsh outfit Swansea City in February. The change has apparently come about over a preference of Hughes' training schedules—though a cynic might perhaps think he just quickly got tired of answering the same old question about Muniesa, and the differences between the Camp Nou and the Britannia Stadium.