Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross is looking forward to the 2017/18 Premier League season despite his side's tough opening fixtures.
The Potters will kick off their 10th consecutive top-flight campaign with a trip to Everton before successive home games against Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Shawcross is relishing the chance to test himself against some of the best teams in the league, insisting that every game is a challenge.
"There are no easy games in the Premier League, especially during the first few weeks of the season where everybody is looking to start well," he told the club's official website.
"Everton away is never an easy one for any side, but we have been there in the past, competed with them and beaten them, so we can go there with real belief this time around too.
"We struggled during the opening few weeks of the season last time, especially in the matches against the bigger sides, but we have a real opportunity to put that right this season.
"We have three mouth-watering games at home against Arsenal, United and Chelsea, which we will be right up for, and hopefully we will be able to make a real statement of intent in those matches.
"We know that we let ourselves down in those kind of fixtures last season, so we will be desperate to make amends for that this time around and start the season in really positive fashion."