Carragher likens Steven N'Zonzi to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira

The former defender believes the exits of both N'Zonzi and Asmir Begovic may hurt Stoke this season.

Speaking on Sky Sports Super Sunday, broadcast from 12:30pm on August 9th, Jamie Carragher says he believes the loss of both Steven N’Zonzi and Asmir Begovic may make things difficult for Stoke this season.

Mark Hughes has brought several new faces to the Britannia this summer as he aims to get them into Europe, after two consecutive top ten finishes with the club during his first two years in charge.

Things did not get off to a good start though as they were beaten 1-0 by Liverpool in their first game, and speaking before the game, Carragher said the loss of those two key players could have a big effect the Potters this season.

“I think they’ll be huge losses for them, it may be bit more difficult for Stoke this season,” he told Sky Sports Super Sunday.

“What he’s lost this summer in terms of the goalkeeper in Begovic, I think he was possibly the best goalkeeper outside of the top four or five teams.”

While Begovic has been a big star at the Britannia for some time, last season was arguably N’Zonzi’s breakout one in the Stoke side, as he impressed in the centre of midfield.

That is what has arguably led to Europa League champions Seville to swoop for his signature, and Carragher says he is surprised nobody in the Premier League tried to sign him, likening him to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.

“I think N’Zonzi, he was like Patrick Vieira last season,” he added.

“I was surprised he was allowed to go to Seville and nobody in the Premier League took him.”

A big season for Butland 

With Begovic now having departed, this season will likely be a big one for Jack Butland.

The young 'keeper has often been lauded as one for the future but has been limited in his game time thus far, with Begovic having successfully kept him out of the Stoke first team.

Now though, he can stake a claim for that number one shirt, although he would have hoped for a better start, with many questioning whether he should have kept out Phillipe Coutinho’s long range strike on Sunday.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch