STOKE CITY midfielder Glenn Whelan today put pen to paper on a new four-year-deal at the Britannia Stadium . . . and then declared his delight at committing his future to the Premier League club.

The Republic of Ireland international has been rewarded for his fine form since the turn of the year with the Potters by being offered a new contract, one he admits he didn't have to think twice about signing.

"I'm obviously delighted to have secured my future here with the Football Club," the 25-year-old exclusively told stokecityfc.com. "I've worked hard since I arrived here and it is great to have been rewarded with a new deal.

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"It has taken a week or two to iron out, but I never had to think about it really. I want to play at the highest level and achieve as much as I can, and I feel I can fulfil my ambitions here at Stoke."

Whelan arrived at the Britannia Stadium from Sheffield Wednesday during the 2008 January transfer window in a £500,000 deal, and wasted no time in cementing his spot in the side during the promotion winning campaign.

However, he found games in the top flight hard to come by during the early part of the 2008/09 season, before a last minute equaliser against Aston Villa re-ignited his City career and he hasn't looked back since.

"It was obviously disappointing for myself at the time because I wanted to show I can play at this level, but I kept my head up and worked as hard as I could and fortunately I got my chance and I have taken it," he added.

"I feel I turned things around at the turn of the year, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself because I know I still have a lot to learn.

"Hopefully I can keep improving here under the gaffer and retain my spot in the starting eleven. I learned a lot last season and I feel better with every game that goes by . . . so long may that continue."

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