Sunderland midfielder Steven Pienaar reveals where he wants to finish career

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Steven Pienaar could return to South Africa after his Sunderland contract expires in the summer.

The 35-year-old has made 17 appearances across all competitions this season but is one of many players to have suffered injury problems throughout the campaign.

Pienaar, who signed for the club in late August, is widely expected to be released by Sunderland as they overhaul their squad.

David Moyes has spoken on a number of occasions of building a more ‘robust’ squad after this season’s injury crisis, and even though he also worked with the midfielder at Everton, seems unlikely to hand the veteran another contract.

Pienaar is unsure what the future holds but admits a return to South Africa, where he started his career with Ajax Cape Town, appeals.

He told Sky Sports: “I think I’ve still a got year in me but all of the injuries that I’ve had over the last two years, I don’t think my body can take much more.

“If it is up to me then you want to finish your career where it all started, which is back home, If I do get the opportunity then I’ll take it with open arms.”

Pienaar opened up on a difficult season with the Black Cats and said it has been the toughest campaign of his career.

The midfielder, who worked with Moyes to great effect at Goodison Park during the peak of his career, says players have let the beleaguered boss down but has backed him to come through the current pressure.

Moyes yesterday strongly indicated he will stay to lead the side into the Championship campaign, having held talks with owner Ellis Short and chief executive Martin Bain in the aftermath of relegation.

Pienaar said: “This is my first one [relegation] and it is the hardest thing to take in my career.

“We’ve let so many people down, family, the club, the supporters, people that support you. It’s been a dark few weeks, we’ve let the manager down, he’s getting all of the blame for it.

“He’s making the decisions but as players, we’re the ones going out onto the field and we have to get a result.

“For him it is a big disappointment but he is a fighter and he’ll come through it.”