Centre-half Harry Souttar says he pushed for a loan move to Fleetwood Town as he aims to get his first crack at EFL football at Highbury.
The 20-year-old Scot joined Stoke from Dundee United in 2016 after a handful of top- flight games in his homeland.
The 6ft, 6in centre-half enjoyed a loan spell back in Scotland at Ross County last seaon but has yet to feature in a league game for Stoke City.
He has featured in the Checkatrade Trophy for the Potters’ Under-21s dofr this season and in the Carabao Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest.
But after getting his first proper taste of senior football at Ross County the defender was eager to secure a loan deal in the EFL.
Souttar revealed he sat down with new Stoke boss Nathan Jones to see if he could temporarily leave the club to enhance his development.
And Souttar is hoping to realise his ambitions of playing in the Football League when Town host Charlton Athletic tomorrow.
He said: “I was speaking to the gaffer at Stoke, and it was one of my ambitions to play in the Football |League and get some men’s football under my belt.
“It is what I really wanted to do and that is why I pushed for it.
“I had a loan from last January to the summer. It was brilliant for me and I loved my time at Ross County.
“It was my first taste of proper first-team football and a first-team dressing room.
“I really enjoyed everything about it.
“I wanted to come out this January and get another piece of it.
“Hopefully I can show what I can do and be in contention for Saturday.”
Souttar had his first training session with his new team mates on Wednesday and met head coach Joey Barton.
And the defender, who is now in competition with senior pros Ash Eastham and Craig Morgan as versatile academy product Nathan Sheron for a central defensive spot, says he has been told he will get minutes.
Souttar added: “I’m delighted to be here. I knew it was on and off for a couple of weeks and I was trying to push it through.
“I came up on Tuesday night, saw the facilities and met the coaches, and it was a no-brainer to sign.
“The gaffer (Barton) just told me to come in and play games.
“He said, ‘We know what you are about. We’ve been watching you’. I’m delighted to be here.”