ERIK PIETERS admits that the excitement is beginning to kick in as he prepares to make his Barclays Premier League debut against Liverpool this weekend.
The Dutch international defender, who arrived from PSV Eindhoven in the summer, looks primed to start for the Potters at Anfield in Saturday's live televised curtain-raiser.
Pieters looks to have earned Mark Hughes' seal of approval having impressed in both training and friendly matches over the course of the past six weeks.
And speaking to Stoke City Player in the build-up to the game, he said: "I simply can't wait - it's the day that I have been looking forward to ever since signing for the Club.
"The start of a new season is always exciting, but moving to a new country and getting ready to play in the Premier League makes it even more exciting for me.
"The difference here is that you come up against world class players every week, whether you are playing a top team or a team who are further down the league. Every team has a lot of quality."
He added: "I want to test myself against the very best in every game that I play - and being here playing for Stoke I will hopefully get that opportunity."
Whilst Brendan Rodgers' side go into Saturday's game as overwhelming favourites, Pieters has assured Stoke City supporters that he and his teammates will be looking to defy the odds and ensure a memorable start to a sixth consecutive top-flight season.
"They are favourites, and rightly so," he said. "But that doesn't mean a lot. On any given day any team can beat any other, and we will go there looking to win the game for sure.
"We don't want to go there with losing or drawing in mind. We will be positive and we will look to get the result that we are all so desperate for.
"It won't be easy - of course it won't, but if we don't go into the game with the belief that we can get the three points then the chances are we won't get anything."