Steele happy with life in Boro squad
JASON Steele has admitted Middlesbrough's tradition of bringing youth players through played a big part in his decision to sign a new long-term deal with the club. Despite rumoured interest from Premier League sides Aston Villa and Arsenal, the 20-year-old penned a new fourand- a-half-year contract on Monday, which will keep him at the club till 2015. Steele has been at the club since the age of 12 and has watched several academy players before him win a place in Boro's first team. Although he has seen the likes of Stewart Downing, Adam Johnson and Ross Turnbull move on to some of the Premier League's bighitters, Steele insists he is very happy to stay at the Riverside for years to come and believes he owes the club for giving him his big chance, despite interest from the Premier League. Obviously it's a major factor because you know as a young local lad you're going to be given every opportunity that you can take to progress and get your chance in the first team and that was a major factor, the Bishop Auckland-born keeper said. We've got some great lads coming through and hopefully they can take their chance, but I think I just wanted to show people I'm committed and this is where I want to be and a club I want to play for. It's an honour to play football for Middlesbrough Football Club and that'll continue no matter how many years I'm here. It wasn't right for me to leave because I'm just starting my career and I still owe Boro a hell of a lot for giving me my chance and I want to give them back whatever I can give and hopefully my performance every Saturday will do that. You look at the likes of Stuart Downing and Adam Johnson who have moved on to bigger clubs, Ross Turnbull and Brad Jones too, but personally it was right for me to stay here and play football and hopefully we can get ourselves out this situation we have found ourselves in and push up the league as soon as possible. Everyone's different. I've signed here till 2015 and I don't see myself going anywhere else and I haven't seen myself going anywhere else since I was 12 and hopefully that will continue. As far as I'm concerned I've signed my new deal here and I don't see my future being anywhere other than here. After previous manager Gordon Strachan gave him his debut in the second game of the season, Steele has firmly cemented his place as Boro's No 1 with some impressive performances. Those displays have also earned him his first call-up to the England-21 squad but the young stopper admits he isn't taking anything for granted and knows he must continue to impress if he wants to stay in the side. I'm delighted to play every week, the 20-year-old said. It's massive for me, especially for a such a big club and I'm ever so proud and my family are proud and hopefully I can continue playing because I'm enjoying every single minute of it. No matter how many games I play, I'm always going to think I've got to go out there and perform. I've never got to think I can take it easy this week because I'm going to be playing next week. It's dog eat dog in this environment and I'm sure if I have a bad game Danny (Coyne) will want to take his chance. One person Steele admits he owes considerably is goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears, who brought the young keeper up through the ranks at the club I'll never be able to repay him, money wouldn't be able to repay him for how much he's helped me, Steele said. Obviously, I owe everything to him and hopefully he can take pride in watching me on a Saturday afternoon and I'm sure he does but hopefully I can make him proud. He's not just a good coach, he's a good person and a good man manager and close friend of my family but he can give me a telling off if I need it if I've done something wrong in a game. We speak every day after training and talk about football, because that's the people we are.
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