Begovic looking to impress
Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is eager to use pre-season to prove he remains first-choice for manager Tony Pulis.
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The Bosnia international deposed former long-term number one Thomas Sorensen last season but is prepared for greater competition from the Denmark goalkeeper in the coming campaign.
"I think I did pretty well last season and I ended the season as the number one, so hopefully that remains to be the case," he told stokecityfc.com after the squad returned for training yesterday.
"Obviously, Thomas will want to play just as much as I do, but we will have to wait and see what the manager decides.
"I am desperate to play games, and I will be doing everything I can in pre-season training and in the matches to make sure I get that starting spot."
The future of Danny Higginbotham remains less clear, however, after he spent the latter part of the season at npower Championship side Nottingham Forest after recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
"I don't know what's going to happen at the moment," the 33-year-old told The Sentinel.
"It's completely up to the manager and he's made some very good decisions over the years, so whatever he decides I will accept.
"It was a stop-start season last year and it's been a very frustrating last year and a half for me since the injury.
"Now I just want to have a good pre-season and get as fit as possible.
"I missed pre-season last year and I honestly don't think you catch up."