DAVID Meyler remains confident he can force his way into Martin O’Neill’s plans after insisting he has never contemplated leaving Wearside.
Meyler has made just one first-team start for Sunderland this season after returning to contention last October following a second long-term absence with knee ligament damage.
The 22-year-old has been a regular on the bench under O’Neill, but has made just one substitute outing since February, despite the Black Cats boss expressing a wish to see his fringe players over the season’s finale.
However, despite interest in a loan move for Meyler from the Championship, the Irish midfielder is determined to return for pre-season training in peak condition in a bid to impress O’Neill ahead of his first full campaign in charge.
Meyler told the Echo: “Obviously, I haven’t played as much as I would have wanted to.
“But I have never even considered leaving or going out on loan.
“I haven’t gone knocking on the manager’s door or anything. I just want to do my talking on the pitch.
“I want to play for Sunderland and I want to play for the manager.
“You have to keep believing. I’ve played 20-odd games for Sunderland and there’s no point in getting down.
“You just have to keep on working hard and trying to improve as a player.
“We are coming to the end of the season now, with one game left on Sunday and then after that I will start looking to the future.
“I work as hard as I can in training all week in the hope of playing at the weekend and that’s exactly what I will be doing again next season.
“I will do some work over the summer and aim to come back for pre-season fitter than ever.
“I’m just looking forward to a full pre-season, because it is very hard to catch up if you miss out on that.”
Meyler is likely to be on the bench again on Sunday as Sunderland host a Manchester United side determined to pip neighbours Manchester City for the Premier League crown.
Sunderland have their own objective from the final game of the season, with O’Neill’s men requiring a first league victory over United in 15 years to stand a chance of securing a top 10 finish for a second successive season.
“Manchester United will come here wanting to win and Manchester City have a tough game themselves against a QPR side who are fighting for their lives,” added Meyler.
“So it won’t be easy for either of them.
“We won’t be rolling over for Man U because we want to pick up as many points as we can and finish as high as we can too.
“We still want to finish in the top 10 if we possibly can.”