Santa Cruz, 25, could have his first outing for the club in the friendly against Preston on Saturday following his £3.3million move from Bayern Munich, and Hughes expects the Paraguay international to rise to the challenge after eight years with the Bundesliga side.
He said: "Signing Roque serves notice of our intent and I am delighted with the strength of our squad. He has always impressed me with his physical presence and his technical ability. But more than anything he has the desire to work hard for the team and that is a prerequisite if you want to play for us."
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