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Coates: World Cup stars boosting Stoke's status

A quartet of Stoke players are currently away on international duty at the Brazil showpiece, with Bosnia-Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic undoubtedly the most high profile.

Geoff Cameron, Peter Odemwingie and Wilson Palacios are also in South America with the United States, Nigeria and Honduras respectively, although the latter's red-card shame against France has propelled him into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Coates is understandably proud that Stoke are represented at the World Cup and feels it can strengthen the image of the Staffordshire club, who, on Wednesday, were handed a Premier League opener against Aston Villa when next season's fixtures were released.

"It can only be good for us to have so many of our players playing in the World Cup, it certainly adds flavour to the whole event," Coates told TheStoke Sentinel.

"I'm delighted for them on a personal level and I am keeping my fingers crossed they all have a good tournament by the end and come back injury free for the new season of course.

"It's certainly more enjoyable watching Nigeria, Bosnia and the like with our players featuring so prominently now.

"And it's bound to help us as a football club to have them representing us, as well as their nations, and so helping to raise our profile in the process."