Enda Stevens, the Republic of Ireland defender, admits he would be "100 per cent” open to remaining a Sheffield United player ahead of talks over a new Bramall Lane contract.
As The Star recently revealed, United hope to open negotiations about extending the deals of Stevens and his fellow international wing back, Kieron Freeman of Wales, before the end of the year as Chris Wilder continues his policy of ensuring all of United's key players are tied up.
Stevens, who joined United on a free transfer from Portsmouth in 2016, has emerged as a key member of Wilder's squad as they chase promotion to the Premier League. His 13th, and arguably most impressive, display of the season came on Saturday as United lost 2-1 at Derby County.
The wing-back has also played twice this season for his country, against Wales and Poland, after making his debut for Martin O'Neill’s men this summer against the USA and told The Star: “I'd definitely like to stay here.
“I won't get into the talks too much because it’s not my place, but I’d be open to it; 100 per cent. I'm loving my time here and I’m loving the football we play here, too.
“We play on the front foot for as long as we an be and we take the game to every team we play; there's no sitting back, or anything like that.
“And that suits us down to the ground. It’s how you want football to be played and how it should be played. How every kid plays football; to win games, score goals and achieve something.
“That’s exactly what we all want to do – achieve something special."
Stevens arrived from Pompey fresh from winning the League Two title, and helped United threaten for a second successive promotion last season until they were ruled out of the play-off equation in the penultimate game of the campaign.
After topping the table last time out, their hopes were undoubtedly hit by Paul Coutts' broken leg but Stevens insists: “The squad is a lot stronger than it was last season.
“The competition for places is incredible and the manager has put together an unbelievable squad, to help him picj the right team.
“That’s only healthy for us all. We want the same thing, we've got a good dressing room and it’s looking good for us.”
Stevens is feeling the weight of competition heavily, too, with Middlesbrough loanee Marvin Johnson breathing down his neck for the left wing-back shirt - which he believes will only benefit him, for club and country.
“That's how it'll always be in the Championship," he added. “You rarely get things all your own way as a player and each and every player in that changing room is going to play a part at some point this season.
“It works well on both fronts. The work I put in here will reward me hopefully on the international scene. I have a hunger and drive to play well for Sheffield United, and that will hopefully help me for Ireland.
“To be recognised and represent your country is one of the biggest things you can do as a player, and I'm just so happy it's happened. Now, though, I want more.”