Stoke City's Greatest XI of the Premier League Era

Stoke's current run in the top flight may be over for the time being, but after a decade in the sun the fans can now only reminisce over the many legends and local heroes come and gone. From the early days of scrapping for survival to securing themselves as a mid-table side with three ninth-place finishes, Stoke managed to establish themselves as a legitimate member of the Premier League.


Add to that an FA Cup final and a European tour, and Stoke have had their fair share of Premier League talent. In fact, there was a point in time in which Stoke had more Champions League winners than any other Premier League club. 


Here's a choice starting XI of the greatest players to represent the club in the Premier League era.

11. GK - Jack Butland

Stoke have had no shortage of great goal keepers such as Thomas Sorenson and Asmir Begovic who preceded Jack Butland. None of that trio are without their faults but they have all been top goal keepers in the Premier League. 


It's tough to take a pick of the bunch but in terms of sheer talent the current number one Butland probably just edges it. He still needs to work on his decision making and his distribution if he is to live up to his potential, but he has saved Stoke on countless occasions with his excellent shot stopping. 

10. RB - Geoff Cameron

Geoff Cameron arrived at Stoke as a holding midfield player, but the versatile American has ably filled in a number of roles during his time with the club. Under Tony Pulis, Cameron frequently operated as a right-back despite having always been a more central player. 


Whilst he doesn't possess the natural instincts of an out-and-out full-back, it is a position Stoke have neglected over the last 10 years. Always calm in and out of possession, he brings some much needed composure to Stoke, which combined with his strength and pace makes him a formidable force in any back line. 

9. CB - Ryan Shawcross

There really could be no other than Stoke's longstanding captain who has made more Premier League appearances than anyone else throughout his 11 years with the club. He may have lost a couple of yards since a lengthy injury layoff, but he is a crucial character on the pitch. 


Stoke only won once without Shawcross last season and it's a continued trend that proves he is the most important name on the team sheet. His aerial dominance and aggressive defensive style has made him a nuisance to many world class forwards during his time in the Premier League. 

8. CB - Robert Huth

The defensive hard man became an instant favourite in Staffordshire and formed a dominant partnership with Shawcross. With the pair at centre half Stoke had one of the tightest defensive lines in all of Europe rivalling at times the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich for goals conceded. 


That partnership was crucial to a side that built their success on keeping clean sheets, with goal scoring often proving a problem for Stoke. Robert Huth also contributed a good amount of goals from set pieces becoming one of the highest scoring defenders in the 10/11 season including one in the FA Cup semi-final. 

7. LB - Erik Pieters

Erik Pieters often doesn't get the credit he deserves at Stoke, he's been a stalwart since his arrival, missing only 21 games in the last five years. He's not the best attacking full-back which is becoming increasingly significant in the modern game, but he offers great stability in the back line. 


He gets up and down the left flank throughout the 90 minutes of every game, providing link up play for the forwards ahead of him. It's his tracking back where he really shines though, in particular with his last-ditch tackles where he seldom makes mistakes.  

6. CM - Glenn Whelan

Arguably a bigger loss than Marko Arnautovic for Stoke last season, Glenn Whelan was a natural leader and midfield general. Only Shawcross made more Premier League appearances for the club than Whelan and the lack of his influence in that midfield was evident last season. 


Commanding, competitive and fearless, Whelan was everything a club could want from a midfield hard man. He once suffered a broken leg on international duty and returned to the first team fold just six weeks later - there's not many players who've shown that kind of commitment to Stoke or nay other team for that matter. 

5. CM - Joe Allen

Joe Allen was head and shoulders above his team mates last season, undoubtably Stoke's player of the season if the club had named one. He wasn't able to replicate his goal scoring heroics from the season before, but he covered every blade of grass on the pitch. 


Quick in to tackles and direct with his passing, Allen played a vital role for Stoke in the turnaround of play. Supporting both the defence and attack, Allen covered that box-to-box role excellently, making it a real coup for the club to retain his services for the coming season. 

4. RW - Marko Arnautovic

He may have left a sour taste for fans when he left the club, but looking back in hindsight the mercurial forward's comments seem justified. Slating the club's lack of ambition and downward trajectory, Arnautovic was proven right when Stoke were relegated last season. 


He was Stoke's top scorer for two seasons running prior to his exit and was undoubtably one of the most talented players the Potters have had on that wing. His 11 goals for West Ham last season also prove how wrong the club were to let him go. 

3. LW - Matthew Etherington

Hands down Stoke's best winger in the Premier League era, delivering both goals and assists during one of the clubs most prosperous times. He directly contributed to a third of Stoke's goals in his most prominent season with the club, with no other player in the league being as important to their side that year. 


He also opened the scoring for Stoke in the FA Cup semi final of 2011, guiding the team to a first ever FA Cup final. Joining in Stoke's first season in the top flight and spending six years at the club, Matthew Etherington was instrumental in cementing their status as a Premier League side.  

2. ST - Peter Crouch

Stoke's record Premier League goalscorer with 45 goals throughout his seven year stay in Staffordshire, Peter Crouch has always been a reliable asset. Stoke may have leant on him too hard at times, as Crouch made 31 appearances for Stoke last season at the age of 37. 


The big man still hit five goals which was his lowest tally in a full season for Stoke so far, having never finished on fewer than seven goals prior. He's a great character in the team and no one has been more important to the club's attacking fortunes in recent years.  

1. ST - Ricardo Fuller

There wouldn't be a Premier League era without Ricardo Fuller, simply since he was the Potters' top scorer in their promotion campaign. Fuller carried that form into the top flight, immediately scoring in Stoke's first Premier League game at Bolton before a netting a contender for the goal of the season the following week to Aston Villa.  


The Jamaican went on to finish as top scorer again that season with a final league tally that went unbeaten throughout Stoke's decade in the top flight. His eight goals the following season also helped stabilise the club before injuries played a part in ending his career at the Britannia Stadium.