SUMMER acquisition Erik Pieters has spoken of his hunger to succeed in the Barclays Premier League . . . having endured an injury-hit 18 months with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
The defender has seen his hugely-promising career hampered by back-to-back metatarsal injuries at the Philips Stadium, but feels his move to the Britannia Stadium will give him the perfect platform to build upon as he looks to rediscover the form that has thus far earned him 17 full international caps.
Speaking to Stoke City Player following his first training session with his new teammates, the 24-year-old was quick to highlight his excitement at the latest chapter of his career, and signalled his intentions of cementing himself as a first team regular.
"It's been a frustrating period of my career, and one that I am keen to leave behind me and move on from," he revealed.
"It was a very difficult time for me, especially at a young age because you want to be out there playing football matches and helping the team to be successful.
"Having those two injuries was horrible and at times it did get to me - it was incredibly hard. But I have had family and good friends behind me who have always helped me to keep my head held high.
"This is the start of something new for me now and I am so excited to be here at Stoke City. It is a fantastic Club, and one that I felt great warmth from as soon as I arrived here.
"I want to work hard, play good football and secure a place in the team, that is the ambition. I am determined to help the Club move forwards and get higher up the league table."
The Dutch star only arrived in the country 24 hours prior to his first training session, but says there are no worries whatsoever about him having any problems acclimatising to his new surroundings.
"I arrived here yesterday and already I feel comfortable here," he smiled. "Last night, I met up with Marc (Muniesa) and we had dinner together and had a nice chat about things.
"We are both in the same boat, so it is nice to get to know him and talk to him. I even think he brought the weather with him from Barcelona, but I'm not expecting it to be like this all the time though because when I came here to sign it was raining.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of being here in England, it has always been a dream of mine to play in the Premier League, and I am determined to succeed here."