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Hughes: Few keepers better than Begovic

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international kept his eighth clean sheet of the Premier League season in Saturday's 1-0 win over Hull City, and Hughes was full of praise for his number one shot-stopper.

Begovic made a crucial save from David Meyler just before the hour mark, and almost immediately Stoke broke the deadlock through Peter Odemwingie.

The importance of Begovic's contribution was not lost on Hughes and the 50-year-old does not believe there are many better keepers than the Bosnian, who has seen his name linked to the likes of Real madrid and Manchester City on the back of his impressive outings.

"He made a great save (from Meyler)," said Hughes. "Once again he has come up with an outstanding save, it actually got deflected.

"At the time I thought it was a clear-cut shot but it got deflected and made it a more difficult save.

"He's done that all year, and that's what we expect of him now.

"He's a top keeper, in my view there's very few that are better than him.

"He's consistent, good stature, good presence, on the field and off it. All the qualities I expect of a top line keeper."

Stoke's victory sees them move into the top half of the table and reach the crucial 40-point mark with six games to go.