George Friend has never been shy to say he loves Middlesbrough and that devotion looks like keeping him at Boro.
The Boro defender is known to be attracting interest from clubs in the top two divisions but is looking forward to returning to work at Rockliffe on Monday.
Sometimes you just settle at a club and I think the fans have a lot to do with itGEORGE FRIEND
Friend is mad about the club AND area as he re-affirmed today when he opened Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation’s a new state of the art pitch at the Herlingshaw Centre in South Bank.
“There are lots of reasons,” said the 27-year-old, who hails from the south west.
“It’s the community, the people around the club, even those that aren’t involved in the football club, they are genuine nice people.
“It’s hard to explain, sometimes you just settle at a club and I think the fans have a lot to do with it.
“They have always been good to me and I just love playing for Boro, it’s such a great, great club and that’s why it’s such a shame we are not in the Premier League after last season.
“But we’ve got to try to push to get there, that’s the main thing.”
The bargain buy, from Doncaster Rovers, says he is flattered by talk of interest from elsewhere, but insists he is happy at the Riverside.
“I’m not on Twitter and things and I think that helps,” said the popular left-back.
“Of course you do hear things, I do have an agent and there are people are talking about it all the time.
“It is a little bit of a distraction but not enough to put me off.
“It’s more of a compliment to be honest.
“I think any player quite likes the fact that there’s interest in them because it means you’ve done something right in a way so I’m very happy at Boro and I’m ready to start again on Monday for another successful season.”
Friend cut the ribbon at the refurbished full-size 3G floodlit pitch at the club’s Herlingshaw site, following an investment of £447,142 by the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.