Mark Hughes is looking for a newly mature Marko Arnautovic to once again prove his point to former boss Jose Mourinho when Stoke City face Manchester United on Sunday.
Stoke lie bottom of the Premier League, with two points from their opening six matches and in dire need of a spark to ignite their season.
Manager Hughes hopes Arnautovic can provide that flare and believes the Austria international is a more seasoned performer than the one Mourinho had under his charge at Inter.
The United boss famously described Arnautovic as “having the attitude of a child” at San Siro but the 27-year-old forward landed a telling blow on Mourinho last term, scoring decisively in a 1-0 win as the Portuguese’s Chelsea reign unravelled.
“I think Jose was always aware of Marko’s talent,” Hughes told reporters ahead of what will be Arnautovic’s 100th appearance in the Premier League.
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) October 2, 2016
“Obviously he worked with him at first-hand and clearly Marko was maybe a little bit different in terms of his view of his football life at the time.
“But he has matured. He’s a married man now with a kid and is a senior player in our group – which he never was when he worked with Jose in Milan.
“He is at a different point in his career and he has a different responsibility to our group than maybe he had at Milan. We have never seen that bad-boy image.
“Marko has come here and enjoyed the Premier League and what we have been able to give him, which is illustrated clearly by the fact that he has re-signed. That was a big moment for us.
“He’s a big personality and a big player for us. He’s been here almost as long as I have and has been a big part of what we have been able to achieve in the last three seasons.
“With Jose, they were in the same place at the same time but it wasn’t to be. It didn’t work out. But Marko is a more mature player and person now, which enables him to perform at a better level.”
Arnautovic was linked with a move away from Stoke over the close-season and Hughes added: “On his day, Marko’s an explosive game-changing footballer. At the top level those are coveted by everybody.
“We are very fortunate that he’s comfortable and happy here and we want him to be part of any success we have in the future.”
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