Stoke City: Thomas Sorensen determined to be City's number one
THOMAS Sorensen is determined to put his European Championship heartbreak behind him by winning the battle for a first-team place at Stoke City.
The 36-year-old Denmark international was forced to miss the Euros when he suffered a back injury just days before the squad set off for Poland and Ukraine.
That cost him the chance of adding to his 101 caps as Denmark bowed out in the group stages following a win over Holland, but defeats to Portugal and Germany.
However, Sorensen is back to full fitness and looking forward to competing with Asmir Begovic for the first-team shirt at Stoke.
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He believes he and Begovic will start on equal terms when the players report back for the start of pre-season training on Thursday.
Tony Pulis showed he was prepared to pick on form last season as Begovic played 22 Premier League games and Sorensen 16.
Now the Dane, pictured below, believes either keeper can claim the first-team shirt for the opening game of the season at Reading on August 18.
He said: "I don't think much has changed from last season. There are two good keepers fighting to be number one.
"It's a good situation for the manager. It will be frustrating for one keeper, but the manager has proved he is willing to go to either keeper and is willing to give us both a fair chance."
The keepers will both get game time in Stoke's pre-season friendlies which begin against FC Sion in Montreux on July 19 and also include a three-game tour to the United States, against Columbus Crew (July 24), Orlando City (July 28) and Sporting Kansas City (August 1).
Stoke will then travel to Torquay (August 6) and Yeovil (August 7) before a game away to Bundesliga side Greuther Furth in Bavaria on August 10.
Sorensen was disappointed to miss out the Euros, but doesn't want to rush into a decision on his international future.
He said: "I was fine within a week or ten days of the injury. It just came at the wrong time for me.
"It was more about the uncertainty because the final squad had to be selected. I was devastated to be so close having worked hard for so long.
"But the manager was fair and explained why he made that decision.
"I can see why he wanted everyone fit. It could have kept me out for two weeks and I would have missed all the games.
"I was down about it, but I am part of the team and was kicking every single ball as I watched the games."
Sorensen, meanwhile, is delighted that Robert Huth will be among the Stoke players reporting for duty this week.
The German defender ended speculation about his future last month when he signed a new contract which commits him to City for the next four years.
Sorensen added: "Robert has been one of our best and most consistent players. It is important for every team to have confidence in their back four and goalkeeper."