'We knew he'd be a big plus for us' - ex-City man flying at Potters

Stoke City's Mario Vrancic during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Bet365 Stadium, Stoke. Pictu

Mario Vrancic has been given a new lease of life at Stoke. - Credit: PA

Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill has been delighted with the impact of Mario Vrancic on his side so far this season. 

The former Norwich City midfielder starred in the Potters’ 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town at the weekend, laying on Jacob Brown’s equaliser before his solo run forced an own goal from Matty Pearson. 

The victory made it five wins out of five at home for O’Neill’s men and he insisted he hasn’t been surprised at how easily Vrancic has fitted in. 

“We did work at the end of the season looking at what we may or may not need for the squad,” he said. “You have to look at the teams who have gone up, and the fact they may spend some money means they may let some players go. That doesn’t mean those aren’t quality players. 

Mario Vrancic is targeting the Premier League again with Norwich City

Mario Vrancic is targeting the Premier League again with Norwich City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“That was really the scenario with Mario. He had been up with Norwich in the Premier League, maybe limited game time in the Premier League two seasons ago. They’re now back in the Premier League. 

“But Mario has proven himself to be a real quality player, so once we knew he was available, we weren’t put off by the fact he’s 32. Mario plays at 32 as he would have done when he was 23, 24. 

“He’s the same style, that languid left-footed player who has that quality.” 

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Vrancic was Norwich’s first overseas signing under head coach Daniel Farke and the Bosnian went on to play 134 times for the Canaries during a four-year spell at Carrow Road. 

However, he left the club in the summer alongside veteran Alex Tettey. 

“We knew that if we could get him in and get that quality in the building he would be a big plus for us, and that’s proven to be the case,” O’Neill told StokeonTrentLive. 

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