Deal is signed to keep Steele on Teesside

14 December 2010 09:23
JASON Steele is confident of achieving bigger and better things with Middlesbrough after signing a new four-and-a-half year deal at the Riverside.[LNB] Steele signed a contract committing him to the Teessiders until 2015 yesterday morning to end mounting speculation over his future.[LNB] The Newton Aycliffe-born 20-year-old had been due to enter the final year of his existing deal at the end of the season, alerting Premier League clubs to his possible availability next summer.[LNB] Aston Villa and Arsenal had both been linked with the youngster, who has cemented a position as Boro's firstchoice goalkeeper since making his first-team debut in August's Carling Cup win at Chesterfield.[LNB] Boro officials are still smarting from Ross Turnbull's departure to Chelsea as a free agent in July 2009. The Academy product turned down a succession of contract offers, and with talks with Steele initially stalling, there had been fears that history might have been about to repeat itself.[LNB] Thankfully, that will not now happen, and while Boro are still embroiled in a relegation battle at the foot of the Championship despite Saturday's win over Cardiff, the England Under-21 international is confident there are better times ahead.[LNB] I'm delighted to have signed so I can now concentrate on helping us get out of the situation we find ourselves in and then push on for bigger and better things, said Steele, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Northampton Town.[LNB] I told the manager this is where I want to be and where I want to play football. That was all he wanted to hear and it was all sorted very quickly.[LNB] Obviously, it's not nice when we're losing games, but it's still an honour to play for Middlesbrough and I want that to continue.[LNB] Playing in the first team is what I aspired to when I first came into the club at 12 years old. I've achieved that dream of playing for the first team, and hopefully I can continue that dream and help the club to push on.[LNB] Steele has made 22 senior appearances already this season, and the strength of his performances increased the urgency of this month's contract talks.[LNB] The youngster was always keen to extend his stay at the Riverside, but his decision to commit so quickly was undoubtedly influenced by the return of goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears.[LNB] Pears was Boro's goalkeeping specialist prior to Gordon Strachan's arrival, but was released to allow the former boss to appoint his long-term associate Jim Blyth.[LNB] One of Mowbray's first moves was to reinstate the former Middlesbrough favourite, and Steele has repeatedly expressed his pleasure at renewing his relationship with his mentor.[LNB] Mowbray must also take a great deal of personal credit for yesterday's news, as he made a new contract for the youngster one of his leading priorities after replacing Strachan in October.[LNB] I inherited Jason as number one goalkeeper and he has never given me any reason to reconsider that position,[LNB] said the Boro boss.[LNB] He makes impressive saves, he has a great work ethic to his training and he has a wonderful temperament.[LNB] I hope he can be a success as Boro's goalkeeper for some years to come.[LNB] Meanwhile, Boro have welcomed a former face back to Rockliffe Park after allowing Andrew Davies to join in a number of training sessions ahead of the January transfer window.[LNB] Stockton-born Davies, who made 65 appearances for Boro before making a £1m move to Southampton in 2007, has fallen out of favour with his current club, Stoke City.[LNB] He had an unsuccessful loan spell at League One side Walsall in October and has been given permission to find new employers by Potters boss Tony Pulis.[LNB] Middlesbrough's Under- 17s team are currently taking part in an international tournament in Qatar.[LNB] The side, which is managed by former Boro full-back Curtis Fleming, are scheduled to play two matches at the Aspire Centre in Doha.[LNB] They competed in the same competition last year, and are due to return to England on Thursday.[LNB] Today's reserve game with Sunderland has been switched from Billingham Synthonia to the Riverside Stadium because of weather conditions (ko 2pm).[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo