Stoke ace admits he has struggled more than expected since signing

Stoke City's Steve Sidwell says that he has been surprised by the competition at the club.

Stoke City midfielder Steve Sidwell admits that he was expecting to play more at the Britannia Stadium after arriving from Fulham in the summer.

Sidwell has had to watch most of Stoke's matches from the sidelines after failing to break into the first-team at the Potters and he admits that it he expected to play more.

The strength of Stoke's squad means that they have plenty of players available to cover every position now, and Sidwell feels that this increased competition has blocked his route to Mark Hughes' starting line-up.

"Probably not as much [of a struggle to break into the team] as it has been," he said to the Sentinel. 

"After the discussions in the summer over coming to the football club, I knew there was going to be healthy competition for places.

"Obviously the squad is very big, but I'm not sure whether the manager thought he was going to lose a couple and gain a few, but that's just how it is now.

"But you have got to wait and respect what's going on at the football club.

"The boys that are in there are playing well, so you have just got to wait for your opportunity."

Stoke's advancement in their squad is testament to the improvements which they have made under Hughes.

Sidwell would have been a guaranteed starter in previous seasons, but there is a lot of quality in the Potters' squad now and they will be looking to build on the top-half finish which they achieved last year.

The 31-year-old will be aiming to play a bigger part in this than he has so far and he could be brought into the side after the international break.

Stoke put in a poor performance against Sunderland in their last match and Hughes may choose to rotate his squad to utilise all the talent available to him when they take on Swansea City this Sunday. 

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