Wes Brown plans to prolong his career beyond this season – even if the 36-year-old is released by Sunderland at the end of his contract.
Veteran centre-half Brown has enjoyed a renaissance over recent weeks after starting each of Sunderland’s last four Premier League games and is expected to remain in the starting XI for today’s crunch clash with Bournemouth.
The ex-England international penned a one-year contract extension at the Stadium of Light last summer, with a view to being limited to a back-up role this season.
Even if Brown can help to secure Sunderland’s Premier League status, this is expected to be his final year at the Stadium of Light.
But Brown will not hang up his boots this summer, with the former Manchester United man eager to continue playing as long as possible.
He told the Echo: “I will try to carry on next season.
“I love football and that’s all I’ve ever done.
“Until the knees can’t carry on, I’ll try to play as long as possible.
“The age is catching up with me now, but it was just good to sign again last summer.
“I wasn’t going to stop, I was going to carry on.
“And obviously it was better to stay here, because that’s what I wanted to do.”
Brown knew his involvement this season would be as an emergency back-up option and he expects to make way when £3million summer signing Younes Kaboul returns to full fitness from a hamstring injury.
And he has had no qualms about that role after making just one first-team appearance – November’s infamous 6-2 rout at Everton – before his recall over the last month.
“I’m sure when Younes comes back in the next couple of weeks, that he’ll be back in,” said Brown.
“But, like I’ve always said, I signed the year extension and I can only try to do my best for the team when I get picked.
“I didn’t think I’d play that many games this season, but, when needed, I just try to do my best.
“At some point, something was always going to happen where I’d have to play.
“I’ve just tried to work hard in training and be ready when called upon.
“I love being with the lads, I get on with everyone and I love doing my job.
“It’s pretty weird. I’ve never really been one to moan.
“When selected, I just try to do my best.”
If this does indeed prove to be the last of Brown’s five-year stint at the Stadium of Light, then he is eager to sign off on a positive note by helping Sunderland remain in the top flight.
“Sunderland is part of me now – this is my fifth year here,” he added.
“I wouldn’t want us to go down.
“If I can be remembered for keeping the club in the Premier League, that would be great.
“That’s definitely one thing I want to achieve this season.”