Brighton & Hove Albion defender Shane Duffy believes that his period with the club so far has been the best of his playing career.
The central defender signed a new five-year deal with the club on Friday afternoon, and he reflected positively on his two years at the club since arriving from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2016.
He said, “I think being at this level has been tough, but it’s also given me some of my most memorable moments in my career so far.
“It’s a challenge that the club are thriving off and I feel like I’m improving all the time.
“This period in my career is probably the best – the club settles you down and it feels like home even though I’ve only been here two years.
“We’ve had good success on the field and that’s the main priority for the next five years – I want to make more history at this club.”
The Irishman made 37 appearances during the club’s debut season in the Premier League last term - missing just one leavgue contest, and he spoke about his fondness for his surroundings.
“I’m obviously delighted because it’s a huge honour to get a new deal at this club – it’s somewhere that feels like home to me.
“The club’s progressed a lot during my time here and even when I first came here it felt like a Premier League club.
“We’re in the league now and everyone’s enjoying it – the club keeps growing and the summer arrivals and squad strength now show that, hopefully that will continue.”
The defender made 30 appearances in the 2016/17 season that saw Chris Hughton’s side gain promotion to the Premier League with three matches to spare, and he was keen to illustrate that his journey through the divisions to his current position was one that he feels that’s been rewarded.
“I joined at the start of what was arguably the best season in the club’s history and it was a big honour for me.
“The club wanted me at the start and as soon as I heard of the interest I wanted to come here – it was always going to be a big part of my career and I’m enjoying it, hopefully it can continue to get better.
“I spent time out on loan in the Football League and you have to be grateful to now be at this level because every footballer has a pathway.
“I was at a big club at Everton and had to go and learn lower down to build my game – going to those clubs was a big step for me and I’ll always be thankful to those clubs for taking me on when I was a kid.
“The hard work for me has to continue now and I’m looking forward to the next five years to see where this club can go."