Club captain Garry Monk has ended speculation about his future at Swansea City by signing a one-year extension to his contract at the club.
The experienced central defender, who has the unique honour of captaining the Swans in all four divisions, has been linked with a number of clubs since the start of the campaign.
But the 33-year-old has signed a new two-and-a-half-year deal to confirm his commitment to a club he “loves”.
“I’m delighted,’’ declared Monk. “This club has been my life for nearly 10 years and I love it here.
“My heart is here and I’ve never wanted to leave from the very first day I arrived.
“I’ve had a few offers to move elsewhere this season and I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching to establish what’s best to prolong my career.
“The club didn’t want me to go, so I felt that while I am still contributing to the team – on and off the pitch – this was the place I wanted to be.
“I’m grateful to the club for their show of faith in me, but I believe it is something I’ve worked hard for. I may not be the youngest member of the squad, but I’ve kept myself fit and competitive.
“I haven’t played as much as I would have liked this season, but when I’ve played I think I’ve shown that I can compete at this level. I’m certainly not going to step aside for the younger players and make it easy for them – I’m still willing to fight for my place and do my best when called upon.’’
Monk has always been an influential member of the squad since his arrival from Southampton back in 2004.
Having joined the Saints from Torquay, he spent eight years at The Dell before moving to the Vetch Field and being made captain in 2006 at the Liberty.
Now in his ninth season at the club, he is also one of only three current players, along with Alan Tate
and Leon Britton, who has played in all four divisions with the club.
He made 16 appearances in the Barclays Premier League last season. And although he has made just five top flight appearances so far this campaign, Monk has a tremendous influence in the dressing room where he has the total respect of his fellow professionals.
“It’s hard not playing regularly, but it’s something I understand,’’ added Monk. “It’s the manager’s decision at the end of the day and I’m experienced enough to understand that.
“But 99 per cent of managers in the league will tell you that it’s also important to have experience in the squad to help the youngsters on and off the pitch.
“I believe I still have influence in the dressing room because I haven’t let my standards slip. I still train hard and push the boys in front of me as much as I can. We are all in it together at this club and that has been vital to our success over the years.
“I aim to stay competitive and help wherever I can. The day I stop competing is the day I finally move on.’’
Monk is due to take his ‘A’ Licence coaching badge next season, having already completed his ‘B’ Licence, with a view to a future coaching or management role within the game.
“That’s for the future. There’s still plenty of life left in this old dog as a player,’’ joked Monk.