AMERICAN international Maurice Edu admits that Premier League football has lived up to all of his expectations . . . despite having not yet made his Stoke City debut.
The 26-year-old penned a long-term deal with the Potters during the summer transfer window, fulfilling a life long dream of his to compete in what he describes as the 'best league in the world'.
Edu is no stranger to atmospheric arenas having spent five years with Scottish giants Rangers, but he says that the intensity of top-flight English football will undoubtedly be greater than it was north of the border.
"I haven't made my debut yet, but from the sidelines you can sense the atmosphere and quality of play on the pitch and it is absolutely incredible," he told stokecityfc.com.
"It's obviously something I am desperate to become involved in over the next few weeks and months.
"As a kid I watched Premier League games on TV from back in the States and I always dreamt that one day I would come over here and get a chance to show what I can do.
"I have that opportunity now thanks to Stoke City, and I am determined to take it with both hands. It's not going to be easy, because the teams here are all top, top class, but I am relishing the challenge."
He added: "I've been working hard in training and I feel comfortable here now, having had a few weeks training with and getting used to all of the lads.
"Hopefully I get my chance to play some games soon, and then it's down to me to put in the performances to justify a regular position in the team."
The Californian-born midfielder, who has 40 international caps for the United States, was speaking at the first 'City 7s' presentation evening of the new campaign at the Britannia Stadium on Monday evening.
Edu was invited along to the Tony Waddington Suite to meet and greet 60 young supporters of the Club, who have recently signed up to the hugely popular flagship supporter's scheme.
"It's important to attract youngsters in to the Club at an early age, so this scheme can only be a positive thing in helping to do that," he said.
"The children here tonight are the future generation of supporters for the football club, so to get them along here and be able to hand out the shirts and match tickets to them is fantastic.
"I've enjoyed myself mixing with the children and their families, and now hopefully we can see them on a more regular basis at the Britannia Stadium during this season, and of course future seasons."
*For more information about the 'City 7s' scheme, please give the Club's Community Trust a call on (01782)592252 or email them on [email protected]
The scheme is only open to children who celebrate their 7th birthday between September 1st 2012 and August 31st 2013.
For just £10.00, the young supporter will receive the following present:
- A Stoke City home shirt for the 2012-13 season
- Two free tickets to see the Potters at the Britannia Stadium
- A £5.00 voucher to open or add to your Stoke City Save and Support account