STEPHEN IRELAND says his first taste of action at the Britannia Stadium has whet his appetite for more after claiming the atmosphere inside the stadium sent shivers down his spine.
The midfield ace, who joined Stoke on a season long loan from Aston Villa on transfer deadline day, impressed in his maiden twenty minutes for the Club after stepping off the bench alongside fellow new boy Marko Arnautovic.
Both players made an immediate impression with impressive cameo displays, but Ireland says it was undoubtedly the fans who made the biggest impression of the day upon him.
“They were absolutely incredible, and when I say that they sent shivers down my spine, I genuinely mean that,” he revealed to Stoke City Player.
“The noise they made was absolutely amazing, and I really haven’t sampled anything like that for a long, long time.
“I am desperate to get out there again and play in front of them. Supporters help players, and when they make the amount of noise like they did today it genuinely hits you.”
He added: “I am convinced that I can feed off them here, and hopefully help the other lads to reward the supporters with more performances like that of day throughout the season.”
Manager Mark Hughes resisted temptation to thrust both Ireland and Arnautovic straight into the firing line, having opted to keep faith with the same eleven that disposed of West Ham United seven days earlier.
Ireland fully understood that decision and knows that he has a job on his hand to force his way into the side with the team performing as well as they are at present.
“They were fantastic today, and to be honest we feel disappointed not to have won the game because we fully deserved to.
“We created all of the opportunities and I thought we were by far the livelier and more expansive of the two teams.
“It isn’t going to be easy to get into the team, but that is what you want. Competition for places is healthy and we have a lot of quality players here at the Club.”