STEPHEN IRELAND insists joining Stoke City is a "massive" opportunity to get his career back on track.
The 27 year old midfielder has joined the Potters on a season-long loan from Aston Villa and is hungry for a return to the first team spotlight having not made a Villa appearance since January.
And the former Republic of Ireland international is convinced working with Mark Hughes and his staff for the second time will provide him with a springboard to a brighter future.
"I had a great relationship with Mark at Manchester City and I was desperate to work with him and his staff again," he said. "I'm raring to go and can't wait to meet my new team-mates.
"Mark knows how I play and how to get the best out of me. I just want to get a good run of games, which is something I haven't had for a while.
"I'm so grateful to Stoke City for the opportunity - I'm looking forward to getting stuck into training and building my career back up again.
"I'm also looking forward to match-days again and the atmosphere generated by the fans because I haven't been in that kind of environment for quite a long time."
Ireland made more than 140 appearances for City but has struggled to make a similar impact since moving to Villa Park in August 2010.
He has been restricted to 47 Premier League appearances and insists: "I do feel as though I've got something to prove and I'm coming here to get myself back playing. There are still lots of things I want to achieve; I've set myself a lot of goals and want to hit the ground running.
"I turned 27 last week and to me it's vital that I'm playing on a regular basis."