Star striker Bojan Krkic has been included in Stoke City's travelling squad as they touched down in Singapore on Thursday evening, even though he will not play at the Barclays Asia Trophy.
The Barcelona Academy product missed the second part of Stoke's Premier League campaign after a serious knee injury sustained during an FA Cup clash against Rochdale in January.
Bojan got over a slow start at the Britannia Stadium but bounced back with several impressive performances for the club, scoring five goals in a debut campaign that saw him quickly emerge as a fans' favourite.
The 24-year-old's breakthrough came in a memorable game against Arsenal in December, when he set up two goals and scored one in a 3-2 win against the Gunners.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes told assembled media in Singapore that Bojan was progressing well since returning to light training.
"It's important that he came with us, because we're trying to get him up to speed," he said.
"He’s obviously been doing a lot of individual work but now he needs to be integrated and step up his speed and endurance.
"His technical work will always be high because he’s a very good player but now he needs to just build up his speed and endurance and then he’ll be ready to play. But unfortunately not while he’s here!"
Hughes also confirmed that Steven N'Zonzi was on his way out of the club, with the midfielder currently in talks with Sevilla.
"We have given Steven permission to speak to the club and we think that will probably end with him leaving Stoke and signing for Sevilla," he said.
While only 18 members of the 24-man squad arrived in Singapore, six other players including Charlie Adam are expected to arrive on Sunday after extended breaks due to international duty.
Tickets for the Barclays Asia Trophy are now on sale. They can be purchased online at www.sportshubtix.sg, by calling (+65) 3158 7888, at the Singapore Sports Hub box office or at any Singpost outlet.
Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwocomments