Stoke manager Paul Lambert believes Xherdan Shaqiri has the appetite to help the club fight off relegation.

Stoke currently sit 18th in the Premier League table with 12 games to go with the majority of Lambert’s squad having never experienced a battle to beat the drop.

Shaqiri, 26, won five successive league titles with Basel and Bayern Munich at the start of his career, while he was also on the bench for Bayern at Wembley when they won the Champions League in 2013.

Lambert has been encouraged by what he has seen from Shaqiri so far this season and expects him to play a big part in the remainder of the campaign.

“I think he’s hungry that way to be involved,” Lambert said. “When you get players who have played at that level, the ability is always there and I think he’s got that in abundance.

“He’s only a young guy and I think he will get better and better with it, but the biggest accolade I can give him is he’s a top-class footballer.

“Shaq is a unique player who can make things happen and do a lot of things that other players can’t.

“He’s got a terrific left foot, he’s got a great eye for a pass and he scored last week.

“Every time he has the ball I think something is going to happen.

“So to be at the clubs he’s been at, you can’t be a bad player if you’ve played for those.

“I think he’s a top, top, top player and, as his career progresses, he’ll get better and better. He’s a top guy and without doubt he’s a top-class footballer.”

Should Shaqiri fire Stoke to safety, he could become in demand this summer with two years left on his deal but Lambert reiterated Stoke’s desire to keep him at the club beyond the end of the season.

He said: “I’m pretty sure the club wants to do that [keep him].

“We need to get him firing, but it’s a big year for him with the World Cup, which is a big thing for him. But regarding his level, goodness me.”

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