Newcastle United midfielder Stephen Ireland admits he was surprised and delighted with the reaction of the home fans after making his long awaited debut for the club in Tuesday's 0-0 draw against Manchester United.
Ireland joined the club in January on loan from Aston Villa but his debut was delayed because of injury and the midfielder was delighted with the reception he received from the fans.
He told the Newcastle Chronicle: “I was quite touched and surprised by the reception the Geordie people gave me.”
“Even when I was warming up fans were clapping and cheering. I was really impressed and taken aback by it.”
“I am grateful and appreciate it a lot. They have accepted me and want me to do well and that is all you want. I will now try to repay them by working as hard as I can.”
Ireland admits that the injuries which have delayed his debut have been very frustrating but has thanked the Newcastle fans for their continued support.
He added: “It has been hard, but it was all made a lot easier thanks to the Newcastle fans and the club.
“I am really impressed by the club, the staff and the fans – everybody has been brilliant with me.
“They have helped me with what has gone on. I am now just looking forward to getting my head down and playing as much football here as I can.
“I just want to help the club climb as high up the league table as much as I can.”