Mark Hughes says Marko Arnautovic is assuming a leadership role for Stoke as he prepares to make his 100th appearance for the club.
The Austrian forward was picked out for praise by the Potters manager in the build-up to the trip to face Manchester United on Sunday with Hughes admitting it was a big boost to get Arnautovic to sign a new deal this summer.
“It was a big moment when we were able to get Marko to re-sign,” admitted the Stoke boss.
“I think that gave notice of what we want to do moving forward and Marko’s a big part of that.”
Hughes is hoping the £2million signing from Werder Bremen, who becomes only the 17th Stoke player to reach three figures in Premier League games, celebrates the landmark in style with another Old Trafford goal.
He added: “He’s been with me since I’ve come to the club, he was one of my first signings, and for the majority of his time here he’s been excellent.
“He’s growing, he’s got more stature within the group. I think he enjoys that part of it, he’s a senior player and wants to take more of a leadership role moving forward.”