Stoke winger Etherington plays down exit rumours

The 31-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Britannia Stadium in recent weeks but the former West Ham player is eager to nail down a spot in the Potters' starting XI
Stoke winger Matthew Etherington has revealed his sole focus this summer is securing a spot in Mark Hughes' first team, and played down speculation surrounding his future at the club.

Etherington has been linked with a move away from the Britannia Stadium after experiencing an indifferent 2012-13 season due to injuries and loss of form.

But Etherington has dismissed speculation suggesting he could leave the Potters and insists his primary concern is impressing Hughes and securing a place in his starting XI.

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"I have not heard anything from anyone," he told reporters. "No one has contacted me and there is no truth in the stories as far as I am concerned.

"I am back in training with the rest of the squad on Monday and will take it from there.

"All the players will be looking to impress the new manager and I am no different."

Etherington is enthused by Hughes' plans for Stoke as the former QPR boss looks to move away from the direct approach employed by previous manager Tony Pulis.

"His teams always get the ball down and try to play football," Etherington added.

"I have spoken to players who have played under him and have heard nothing but good things. I'm sure he will impress on us what he wants and what style of play he is looking to adopt here.

"Most people underestimate the quality of the players we have at Stoke City. We have some very good players and will be able to adapt to whatever style the new manager wants us to play.

"I'm sure if we don't, he will bring some new players in, it's as simple as that."