Belfast Telegraph

Hughes helped me choose - Sidwell

New signing Steve Sidwell admits manager Mark Hughes was a significant factor in him choosing to agree a two-year deal with Stoke.

The 31-year-old was signed by the Welshman at former club Fulham and when the Cottagers released the midfielder following their Premier League relegation he was immediately a target for Hughes.

"There were two factors behind my decision to join Stoke - the first being the fact that it's a club that is really moving forward," Sidwell told

"I was really impressed with the football Stoke played last season; the way they played against Fulham on the penultimate weekend of the season really had a wow factor about it and it led to a first-ever top-10 finish in the Premier League.

"Then there's the manager because he's a man that I have the highest regard for.

"He signed me for Fulham and I really enjoyed the time I worked with him there.

"I like the way he asks his teams to play and his training sessions are good, which makes coming into work on a daily basis really enjoyable.

"I'm really looking forward to the start of pre-season. I've had a holiday and feel really refreshed and ready for an exciting new phase of my career."

Sidwell will officially join on July 1, following Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley in completing a summer move to the Britannia Stadium.

"Steve was much in demand following his release by Fulham and we are delighted to have won the race to secure his signature," said chief executive Tony Scholes.

"Mark Hughes signed him for Fulham and from talking to Steve I know how much he's looking forward to working with him again.

"Like Phil Bardsley, Steve brings great experience to our squad and I'm sure he will prove to be an excellent addition to our squad."

Sidwell is relishing a new chapter in his career after the double devastation of being relegated and then released inside a couple of weeks.

"Relegation was difficult to swallow, especially the way we went down," he added.

"We were, of course, relegated at the Britannia Stadium on a day when we didn't really give it a go. We rolled over.

"I had three and a half years at Fulham and it's disappointing that my time with them ended on such a sour note with relegation but joining Stoke is a new chapter and I'm really looking forward to the future."


From Belfast Telegraph