Stoke new boy Joe Allen says he is not feeling sluggish after a hectic summer and is hoping to face Middlesbrough this weekend.
Allen has had just two weeks’ rest after impressing for Wales at the European Championship this summer but says he feels sharp ahead of the big kick-off against Boro.
The 26-year-old has arrived from Liverpool in a £13million deal and is hoping boss Mark Hughes gives him the nod to start, despite his lack of pre-season action.
“It was a really short break, just a couple of weeks, but I think that has actually worked out really well for me to be honest,” he told the club’s website.
“I didn’t lose too much fitness during those couple of weeks because I was playing regularly throughout the summer for Wales, so I have been able to come in here and hit the ground running.
“I have had the chance to undertake some good pre-season training here and have managed to get a couple of games under my belt, too, so I certainly feel in good nick.
“Of course, from a personal perspective I am hoping I am selected to start because there is nothing better than the first game of the season, especially when you have moved to a new club.”
The Potters are 5/2 with Titanbet to beat Middlesbrough.