BREK SHEA has declared himself fit and raring to go as he looks to make his Barclays Premier League debut against Fulham . . . but acknowledges that he may have to bide his time if Tony Pulis doesn't feel he is ready to be thrust into any immediate competitive action.
The United States international came through Tuesday's behind closed doors friendly encounter against Burnley at the Britannia Stadium unscathed, impressing and scoring in what was his first game in almost four months, having undergone surgery on a troublesome foot injury.
Speaking exclusively to stokecityfc.com following the game, he said that he is anticipating being available for selection for the clash at Craven Cottage on Saturday week, but will understand the decision of Pulis and his medical staff if he is forced to wait a little longer for his Potters bow.
"As a player, I guess I am always going to say I am ready because I am itching to get out there and play for the Football Club," he said.
"But at the same time, you can't rush things, and the gaffer and his staff are better qualified that me to make the decision on whether they think I am ready to play or not.
"I've been out for quite a while, so inevitably I'm not feeling one hundred per cent, but as I say, over the coming days and weeks, that will get better, and hopefully, I can do well in training and put myself in the frame for the upcoming games."
He added: "It was nice to get back out on the pitch and play 89 minutes of the match. Scoring was good too, but the single most important thing was building up my fitness levels."
The former FC Dallas star was also quick to point out the camaraderie within the dressing room; citing the 'incredible welcome' he has received from everybody in the squad as key to helping him settle into his new surroundings so quickly.
"Everybody has been really good with me, and they have all spoken to me and made me feel unbelievably welcome from the first minute I walked through the doors here.
"In terms of things off the field and settling in to my new routine, Geoff Cameron has been great. I have been around his house quite a bit and I have been eating his food, which maybe he isn't too happy about, but it's all good."
Shea, who has 15 caps for the United States National Team, has already sampled the incredible demands that being a Premier League footballer brings, despite having yet to take to the field in what he describes as 'the best League in the world'.
"Right from the training to the games, everything is much more intense over here, there is no doubt about that," he stressed.
"In the States you tend to relax more, but here, it's definitely a lot more intense. I guess that is why the League is as demanding and as tough as it is, and why the very best players in the world come here."