George Friend can’t wait to get back to work – and it will be with Middlesbrough.
The Boro full-back has been the subject of interest from several clubs following an outstanding season in the Sky Bet Championship promotion challenge.
But the 27-year-old will be at Rockliffe on Monday for the start of pre-season training
“I’m not on Twitter and things and I think that helps,” said the popular defender, who was speaking after opening Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation’s a new state-of-the-art pitch at the Herlingshaw Centre in South Bank.
“Of course, you do hear things, I do have an agent and there are people are talking about it all the time. It is a little bit of a distraction but not enough to put me off. It’s more of a compliment, to be honest.
“I think any player quite likes the fact that there’s interest in them because it means you’ve done something right in a way so I’m very happy at Boro and I’m ready to start again on Monday for another successful season.”
Friend insists the heartache of the play-off final defeat to Norwich City has gone and he’s just looking forward to the next promotion challenge.
“I definitely think I’m over it,” he said. “When i watched it back, I didn’t think we deserved to win.
“It would have been a lot harder to accept if we’d lost to a last-gasp goal. I’m over it, I’m fine – we have a great squad here and manager and chairman. Hopefully we can produce a great season – it would be nice this time with a little less drama, but with success at the end.”
Friend cut the ribbon at the refurbished full-size 3G floodlit pitch at the club’s Herlingshaw site, following an investment of £447,142 by the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.
But his next sight of a football field will be at Rockliffe on Monday for the start of pre-season training.
“I hope it’s not as hard as this come Monday,” he joked in an interview with BBC Tees.
“It’s been great getting a run-around with the kids here on this great surface. I’ve not thought of pre-season too much. It’s not going to be a long pre-season.
“I prefer a short, sharp pre-season to get us ready, something intense, working hard and then I think we’re on TV the first game of the season so we’ve got to be ready for that.”