Jason Steele opens up on how he earned Sunderland recall after Derby County loan collapsed
Jason Steele is glad he stayed at Sunderland to fight for his place after earning a surprise recall.
Steele joined last summer and started the season but was twice dropped, with Robbin Ruiter and then January signing Lee Camp favoured instead.
The ex-Middlesbrough stopper was close to joining Derby County on deadline day but the deal changed late on and Steele returned to Sunderland to fight for his place.
After knuckling down, the 27-year-old was rewarded with a recall at Millwall, Steele, one of six changes, impressing in the 1-1 draw.
"It is nice to be back playing, I have worked hard," reflected Steele.
"I have only played nine league games this season, it is not great, I would rather have played a lot more.
"It was a case of knuckling down over the last few weeks, trying to get to the point where the manager has to pick me.
"I could have left and chose not to, I chose to stay and fight it on face to face.
"Hopefully, people can see that and understand I didn’t take the easy option out and that I want to be part of this club."
Steele travelled to Derby on deadline day as the Rams looked to sign him as cover for former England international Scott Carson.
Sunderland were open to a deal which would initially have seen the goalkeeper sign on a loan that would become permanent should the Rams be promoted to the Premier League.
That clause was then removed, with Steele opting to return to Sunderland. Chris Coleman’s side led Millwall 1-0 through Bryan Oviedo’s strike but were pegged back by the hosts.
Steele added: "I think from the position we were in at half-time, you’d have to say it was two points dropped.
"Second half we got stuck in a rhythm that we couldn’t get out of. We couldn’t get out of our half, we didn’t play enough.
"This is a tough place to come, they have been doing well of late, but it is disappointing not to hang on and keep that clean sheet," he told the club website.