DANNY Rose will be a Sunderland player for the rest of the season after Spurs allowed their recall clause on the England Under-21 international to lapse.
The news is a big relief to Martin O’Neill who had been sweating on the Londoners’ option to take the defender back to White Hart Lane in the January transfer window.
Rose has caught the eye in the first half of the campaign with some stand-out performances for Sunderland.
And O’Neill was wary of Rose’s fine form perhaps tempting Spurs to recall him, especially as preferred first-choice left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto had been injured for most of the season.
When Spurs played Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last month, manager Andre Villas-Boas hinted Rose might remain with the Black Cats for the rest of the campaign.
But there was always a chance that Spurs could change their mind or that further injuries would force their hand.
If Spurs did decide to recall Rose, they had to do so before a set date to give Sunderland a chance to find a replacement before the transfer window closes at the end of January.
And that recall deadline has now passed without any contact from the Londoners, which means Rose – currently on his way back from a hamstring problem – will see out the rest of the season with Sunderland.
“The loan deal contained an option for Spurs to recall Danny this month, but they had to exercise that option by January 17,” O’Neill said.
“I’m pleased to say that they haven’t done so, so he will be with us for the rest of the season, and that is really good news.
“I know that Andre Villas-Boas said last month that he intended to let him stay here for the season, and I never felt he would change his mind – unless, of course, they had injury problems.
“But at least we now know for sure.
“Danny has done very well for us in the first half of the season, and hopefully he will continue where he left off when he recovers from his hamstring injury.”
O’Neill is prepared to sign Rose permanently at the end of the season, but Villas-Boas seemed to rule that out in December, insisting such a move would be ”impossible”.
Since then though Spurs have since spent £3m on another young left-back, signing ex-Manchester United man Zeki Fryers from Belgian side Standard Liege, and that may change things.
And, with Rose having already made public his desire to move to Wearside permanent, Sunderland will test Spurs’ resolve again at the end of the season.
Rose’s performances have been one of the highlights of Sunderland’s season, with him being brave and athletic in defence and quick to get forward to support attacks.
But he is currently on the treatment table after being forced off midway through the first half in Sunderland’s 2-2 FA Cup third round draw at Bolton two-and-a-half weeks ago.
O’Neill says Rose is making steady progress, although it seems unlikely he will feature in Sunderland’s next game against Swansea City at the Stadium of Light next Tuesday night.
O’Neill revealed: “Danny is getting there, and we’re hoping that he might be back training again in another week or so.”
So far this season, Rose has made 18 appearances for the Black Cats in all competitions.