David Wheater insists his priority was always to sign a new contract with Middlesbrough.

The defender said: "I was out of contract in the summer so I could have gone anywhere at the end of the season but I didn't want to go anywhere else. I want to be here.

"When the manager told me that I would play here more than anywhere else I knew I wanted to stay."

Asked if he was tempted by the interest from so-called bigger clubs like Celtic and Everton, he added: "Not really. They are quality teams and if I went to Celtic I would be playing in the Premier League probably every season but it doesn't matter to me, I'm playing for my hometown club and that's all I want to do.

"It's the only place I want to be. There was speculation in papers that other clubs were interested but I didn't want to go anywhere else because I'm happy."

Boro's squad and ambitious plans convinced the 21-year-old to stay.

He said: "Stewart Downing, when he signed, said signing Alves was why he stayed and I think Stewy, for me, was a big point for me signing because I think he is one of the best players in England in his position so we are a club that can push on for Europe."