(Reuters) - Stoke City defender Erik Pieters will be spurred on by the arrival of 18-year-old left-back Josh Tymon from Hull City, the Premier League club’s manager Mark Hughes has said.
England under-20 international Tymon broke into Hull’s first team last season, scoring once in 12 senior appearances as the club fought to stay in the top tier but failed after losing three of their last five league matches.
Pieters, 28, has been a main stay in Hughes’ squad since joining in 2013 and was impressive last season, missing just two league games as Stoke finished 13th and Hughes believes that competition for a starting could motivate Pieters further.
“Josh is here to push Erik Pieters. Obviously Erik is the senior partner in the club but we feel that (Tymon‘s) got the ability. He’s played in the Premier League already and understands what it’s about,” Hughes told the Sentinel.
“We feel he can push Erik and I think that will help Erik as well.”
Hughes is hoping to give everyone a chance to play during the team’s pre-season tour, which begins on Monday with games against Swiss teams Neuchâtel Xamax, Young Boys of Bern and French champions Monaco.
“We’ve got three good games and it’s game time for everybody. By the end of the week hopefully everybody will have had at least 45 or 60 minutes game time... We’re happy with it and we’re looking forward to it,” Hughes added.
“The games are good against quality sides but that’s what we want and that’s why we set them up.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru Editing by Jeremy Gaunt