Newcastle Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski has revealed other A-League clubs had shown interest in his services before recommitting to the Hunter club.
The Jets announced club stalwart Kantarovski, who has made 140 appearances in gold, blue and red, had signed a new one-year deal on Friday.
The 25-year-old praised new manager Ernie Merrick, pinpointing him as a key reason for staying on.
“It’s an absolute honour and a blessing at the same time to be able to play for my hometown club and represent this region for so many years now,” he said.
“I had interest from some other clubs, but when a new coach (Ernie Merrick) comes in and wants you as part of his plans it makes the decision to stay very simple.”
“The boys that remain from last season’s squad have a burning desire to make sure that we improve next season, and with a fair few new players coming in it’s definitely a fresh start.”
“There’s a long way to go until kick-off in October but I am already eager start the season again.”
Merrick himself highlighted Kantarovski’s A-League experience as an important ingredient in reviving Newcastle’s fortunes under his tenure.
“Ben has almost been around the A-League as long as I have, although he was a wee bit younger when he started,” he said.
“I think his experience will be vital in the squad that we are trying to build.
“As Ben is physically strong and very competent tactically he is versatile and can play in a number of positions.”
“I have a strong belief that he has a lot more footballing ability within him.