Stephen Ireland has signed a new five-year deal at Manchester City, committing his future to the club until the summer of 2014.
The midfielder, who was last week named City's Player of the Year following a superb individual season, insisted upon putting pen to paper that he intends to see out his career at the club through whose youth ranks he has progressed to become a pivotal first-team member.
City boss Mark Hughes stated recently that a new deal was close, and Ireland has repeatedly made known his desire to agree a long-term deal at Eastlands.
That has now become a reality with the club announcing on Thursday evening they had agreed personal terms on a deal which obligates Ireland for a further two years beyond his previous contract.
“It was something that I've been worrying about for a few months but now it's done I can enjoy the summer,” the 22-year-old told City’s official website.
“I never had any doubts about staying.
“Regardless, I was going to be here, and hopefully for the remainder of my career. I don't see why not. I really want to become a hero here, to hopefully achieve things.
“I'm settled here. I love the club, I love the fans, and I don't see what's going to make me leave this club.
“These are very exciting times. It's going to be interesting just to see what the line-up will be at the start of next season and how far we can push on. Hopefully we can compete for the title and get back into Europe.”
Ireland continued: “I've always trusted my ability, but it's only this season I've come out of my shell. I worked hard last summer to try and reach the targets I set myself. I reached some, the others are something to aim at next season.
“But I never take my place for granted. I don't think I ever would, I don't like to take my foot off the gas.”
City boss Hughes was just as delighted to see the deal wrapped up, and expressed his relief at tying down a player he views as central to the future of the club.
“Stephen’s new contract is great news for everyone concerned. He was outstanding all last season and is now one of the best midfielders in The Premier League,” the Welshman said.
“He thoroughly deserves all the praise that has gone his way after the hard work that he undertook last summer, and I know that he is already aiming to do even better for us next season and beyond.”