What Does Souttar’s World Cup Performance Mean for Stoke City?

This past Saturday, Harry’s Souttar’s 2022 World Cup journey ended as Australia fell 2-1 to Argentina — Even with the loss, it was a successful World Cup journey for Australia, who equaled their previous best result by reaching the round of 16 (also done in 2006). And even more importantly for Stoke City’s sake though, Harry Souttar himself had a very successful tournament.

Per Whoscored, Souttar tallied a 6.94 player rating for the entire tournament. For context by comparison, Premier League superstar Virgil van Dijk has tallied a 7.01 player rating so far for Netherlands — While Souttar doesn’t equal that exact number, he’s very close.

Australia’s defender #19 Harry Souttar heads the ball before Argentina’s midfielder #24 Enzo Fernandez and Argentina’s defender #19 Nicolas Otamendi during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Argentina and Australia at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 3, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

With those numbers, not only did Harry Souttar come up big in Australia’s four matches played, but Souttar also caught the eyes of a worldwide audience. From social media users, to former players who are now Sky Sports pundits, Souttar was a big talking point.

So with all of that world attention and the level of play Souttar performed at, what does that mean for Stoke City moving forward? Let’s take a closer look at the impact Souttar’s World cup could have in the present and future for The Potters.

How Does Souttar’s World Cup Impact The Present?

Going into the World Cup this year, the best case for Harry Souttar appeared to be a scenario in which Souttar would knock off some rust he’s accrued. After all, being out for close to a year with a knee injury, would give any athlete some lack of playing-time rust.

But not only did Souttar smash through those low expectations, but he also showed the level of play he can reach. The fact that Souttar could go toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the world, should show everyone that Stoke City have a superstar in the making at center-back.

Which is fantastic news for The Potters in the present this season. If Souttar can go back to Stoke City and keep up the same level of play he’s shown over the past month, then Stoke City could boast the best center-back in the Championship.

If that does become the case, then Stoke City could already be looking at part of their defensive solution this season. It’s no secret that Stoke City severely underperformed defensively in the first half of the season.

If Souttar returns and balls out like he has at the World Cup, then Souttar will become a massive key for The Potters improving defensively out of the World Cup break.

AL WAKRAH, QATAR – NOVEMBER 30: Team of Australia sings the national anthem prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Australia and Denmark at Al Janoub Stadium on November 30, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

You add Souttar’s mentioned play and a possible move for Ryan Poreous, and you could be looking at the best center-back duo in the Championship. Either way, Souttar’s play in the now presents a lot of answers for Alex Neil coming out of the World Cup break.

How Does Souttar’s World Cup Impact The Future?

There’s one small downside to Harry Souttar’s recent eye-catching play, and that’s other teams and big name talking heads now fully noticing Harry Souttar more. For Souttar, that’s great news and no one is putting that as a negative. However for Stoke City, more eyes and more notice on Souttar could be bad news.

There’s already been talk among Sky Sports pundits (such as former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand), that Souttar could be on his way to the Premier League or other leagues in the world.

All of that hype could eventually put Souttar firmly in the crosshairs of other teams transfer targets — Something that could eventually take Souttar away from Stoke City, even if or if not, they themselves get promoted in the near future.

Now, the good news for Stoke City is that if Souttar is eventually sold to another club, The Potters would make a good amount of money from the deal. Plus, a possible move for Souttar might not come until at least the Summer or even later.

DOHA, QATAR – DECEMBER 03: Harry Souttar of Australia battles for possession with Julian Alvarez of Argentina during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Argentina and Australia at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images for Football Australia)

Harry Souttar as of right now is under contract until 2025. So Stoke City doesn’t have to sell Souttar right away or feel pressured into a Souttar deal right away (unless the price is too great to pass up).

All of that should equal Stoke City having the chance in the present and maybe another season, to reap the benefits of Harry Souttar’s fantastic play. And in the long run, it’ll also equal Stoke City using Souttar’s eventual fee to help build a future squad.

Positives on Top of Positives With Harry Souttar’s World Cup

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves too much. The future is always tough to predict. Especially when it comes to scouting football players. One moment a player is highly coveted. And the next, they’re totally forgotten about. Could that be what happens with Harry Souttar? Odds are no, as Harry Souttar even before his knee injury was catching scouts’ eyes.

But there’s always a chance that a player’s performance falls off. Even if in this case it seems very unlikely. No matter what though, Harry Souttar’s World Cup performance casts nothing but a positive present and future shadow.

Harry Souttar opened a lot of eyes to who he is as a player over the last month and now Stoke City fans will be hoping that same level of play can help bring the team up the table in early 2023.