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Saturday 3 December 2016

Xherdan Shaqiri determined to help Stoke back into Europe

Published 28/09/2015 | 08:45

Xherdan Shaqiri is keen to get Stoke back into Europe
Xherdan Shaqiri is keen to get Stoke back into Europe

Xherdan Shaqiri admits the thought of getting Stoke to Europe is fuelling him in the Premier League despite the club not enjoying the same international profile as his former employers.

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Having played for Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, Shaqiri's arrival at the Britannia Stadium for a club-record fee of £12m this summer raised a few eyebrows.

He has since made five appearances for the Potters, though he could face a spell out with a hamstring injury after coming off during Stoke's win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Nevertheless, Shaqiri's overall ambition is to help re-establish Stoke in Europe - the club's run to the last 32 of the 2011-12 Europa League was their first continental action since 1974.

The Swiss playmaker told www.fifa.com: "Although it's true that Stoke don't yet have the same kind of international reputation, the club is pursuing ambitious targets.

"They want to establish themselves in Europe and that's what tempted me here. Stoke are offering me the opportunity to continue developing both as a player and as a person.

"Above all I want to play, perfect my game and move forward with the team."

Shaqiri may boast titles to his name including the Champions League but he struggled to secure regular game time at Bayern and Inter.

And the 23-year-old is now keen to improve that statistic in what he describes as the best league in the world.

"The key element in Germany is discipline," he said. "The Germans are very focused on playing disciplined football.

"Football in Italy was very tactically (orientated), and now here in England I can sense a real emphasis on attacking play.

"The football here is tough and spectacular, and I'm enjoying it. Although I've only played a few matches in the Premier League so far, I feel I've arrived in the best league in the world."

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