Glen Johnson stoked to be with new-look Potters
Johnson finalised his move to the Britannia Stadium from Liverpool over the weekend and then quickly boarded a flight to Singapore, where he is expected to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy.
Stoke are part of the four-team tournament that also includes Arsenal, Everton and a Singapore Selection. It gets underway at the Singapore National Stadium on Wednesday.
Johnson had been linked with moves abroad, including clubs in Turkey and Spain, but says he has been a fan of the Potters’ transformation during Hughes’ two years at the helm.
“I met Mark Hughes a week ago and was impressed with what he had to say,” Johnson said in his first comments since joining the club. “Stoke City is a club moving in the right direction and I want to be a part of it.
“They once had a reputation for long balls and long throw-ins, but you can see what has happened since Mark has come in. They’ve progressed in to a real footballing team.
“I don’t like to kick it forward, I like to play football and from what Mark has said to me he wants to do the same, so it should suit us both. I wanted to stay in the EPL, because it is the best league out there. This move has ticked a lot of boxes.”
Johnson spent six largely successful years at Anfield, but his form had gradually tailed off in recent times and he will be keen to kick-start his career with the Potters.
As fate has it, his first Premier League match for his new team will come against Liverpool, at the Britannia Stadium on August 9.
“It’s funny how the fixture calendar works out like that sometimes,” Johnson said. “I owe Liverpool a lot.
“I had some good times there, played a lot of games throughout the years and I have a lot of friends there, so Liverpool will always stay close to my heart.
“But hopefully Stoke City will get the three points on the opening day of the Premier League season.”
Hughes has already expressed his admiration for the 30-year-old Johnson, labeling him a “fantastic addition” to the Stoke squad.
He is one of six new faces brought into the club, joining Marco van Ginkel, Shay Given, Joselu, Philipp Wollscheid and Jakob Haugaard.
A member of the Liverpool side that toured Singapore back in 2011, Johnson is looking forward to competing in this part of the world once more.
“I know Peter Crouch, Marc Wilson, and Steve Sidwell, so it’s always good to come in to a squad and see a few familiar faces,” he said. “It will take time to adapt and the lads have been here five days, so I have some catching up to do, but I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s always special to be here because the fans love their EPL. There is huge support for Arsenal and Manchester United over here, as well as Liverpool. It should be a great buzz on Wednesday with fans getting the chance to see three EPL teams play in two matches on the same night.”
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.