Sunderland goalkeeper Jason Steele has insisted that he is delighted with his choice to remain at Sunderland following the receipt of a surprise recall.
The 27-year-old signed from Blackburn last summer for an undisclosed fee on a four year deal, but he got close to leaving the club after being dropped earlier in the season due to questionable performances.
He nearly joined Derby County on deadline day in January, but ultimately decided to stay and fight for his place, which he appears to have done with a remarkable measure of success.
The Black Cats were open to sending him out on loan and had agreed on a clause which would see the Rams sign him permanently if they gained promotion to the Premier League. But the player chose to remain at the Stadium of Light after said clause was removed from the deal.
"It is nice to be back playing, I have worked hard," Steele told the Sunderland Echo after helping Sunderland claim a point in a 1-1 draw with Milwall on Saturday. "I have only played nine league games this season, it is not great, I would rather have played a lot more.
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"It was a case of knuckling down over the last few weeks, trying to get to the point where the manager has to pick me. I could have left and chose not to, I chose to stay and fight it on face to face.
"Hopefully, people can see that and understand I didn’t take the easy option out and that I want to be part of this club."