GLENN WHELAN is relishing the challenge of competing for a place in Stoke City’s midfield following the arrival of several new faces to bolster that department this season.
The Republic of Ireland international figured prominently in the weekend draw with his former club Manchester City and now has his sights set on featuring in Saturday’s visit to Chelsea.
The 28-year-old recognises that competition is stronger than ever for the central midfield berths after the arrivals of Charlie Adam, Geoff Cameron, Maurice Edu, Jamie Ness and Steven N’Zonzi, but he sees it as an opportunity to get more out of himself as he aims to continue his progress of recent seasons.
Speaking exclusively to Stoke City Player, Whelan outlined his personal ambitions for the coming months as he faces a situation that is not new to him.
“There was a lot of chat about myself when the manager made a few new additions to the team, but I want to stay here and I want to play for my spot,” he said.
“I’ll keep working hard, and these players will push me hard, but I hope I can push them too.”
Whelan says the signings are indicative of how far the Club has come since he joined from Sheffield Wednesday in January 2008 – a time when the Potters were still in the Championship.
“The manager was here when we first got in the Premier League, and it’s been a building process each year, and each year we’ve shown that,” he added.
“Obviously, the Club has now pushed on; there’s a new training ground and we’ve signed some big players, and hopefully the fans are grateful for that.
“Hopefully, they’ll keep coming and cheering us on as they do, although it’s up to us to give them something to cheer about. It’s a great Club to be around at the moment.”
The Irish international is pleased with the start the Potters have made in the Premier League especially given the difficult run of fixtures, yet admits things won’t get any easier with a trip to European Champions Chelsea this weekend.
“We know we’ve had a really tough run, playing both Arsenal and Manchester City,” he said.
“We haven’t lost yet, so that’s a good thing. The two games away from home were tough too; they were hard places to go to. We’ll keep pushing and hopefully keep going.
“We know it’s going to be really tough at Chelsea, but if we go in the way we have done in the first four games by showing a great attitude and making chances, then you never know.”