Kelvin Etuhu insists he was never tempted to leave Barnsley despite being out of the side for three months before his surprise return at right-back in the win over Reading on Tuesday night.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who gave an impressive performance in his first ever game as a full-back, had not played since December 29 and had not been on the bench for two months.
The club were willing to let him leave after Danny Wilson deemed him surplus to requirements but, despite being keen to play football with his contract set to expire in the summer, Etuhu decided to fight for his place at Oakwell.
The former Manchester City youngster told the Chronicle: "It never crossed my mind to go out on loan because I feel part of the club and the squad. It has been tough but I have just trained hard every day. I have got my head down and not sulked.
"Anybody that knows me knows that I am not like that. Regardless of whether I am in the team or not, I want Barnsley to do well. All the lads are friends of mine and I really care about the club. Even though I wasn't playing, the lads always made me feel part of it. "We have had good times together, especially last season.
"I thought that, if I kept my head down, the manager would give me an opportunity and he did. "I appreciate that. He had his reasons for not playing me and I respect that."
Wilson praised Etuhu's performance and said he was unlucky to concede a first half penalty. The manager added: "He was absolutely top drawer. It's not been easy for him. There was a chance Kelvin could have left in the January window because he wasn't in the team. But he's a great professional. He trains very well. When I asked him to play right-back there was no hesitation and he said 'I'll play anywhere' which was music to my ears."
The Nigeria-born Red played at right-back in his 45th game for the club due to injuries to Jack Hunt and Ryan McLaughlin and says he would have played in any position. "I have never played right-back before but the manager wanted me to do a job and I was happy to get the shirt. He called me into his office on the day of the game and said that he wanted me to do a job at right-back for the team which I was more than happy to do.
"I thought I did all right but the most important thing was that the team got three points. I didn't think it was a penalty but I didn't let it affect my performance. Everyone in every position was on the money. To come to Reading and win like we did will give the lads a lot of confidence and there's nine games left so if we play like that until the end of the season we will stay in the Championship."