Vurnon Anita says he NEVER wanted to quit Newcastle United in the wake of relegation.
A clutch of players left St James’s Park this summer.
Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum and Andros Townsend were the highest-profile departures.
United manager Rafa Benitez also moved on a number of other players, including captain Fabricio Coloccini.
But versatile Anita, signed from Ajax in the summer of 2012, felt it was right to stay and help the club win promotion back to the Premier League.
“As a player, you always want to play in the highest league,” said the 27-year-old.
“That wasn’t the case this time, but I’ve still got a contract here at Newcastle. I’m here and I’m giving my all.”
Benitez has spoken about the need for Newcastle’s players to take responsibility for what happened last season.
And Anita added: “That’s a part of it as well. I’m here and I’m doing more than my best.
“Hopefully, we can be champions this season and come up with Newcastle.”
United moved up to fourth in the Championship after last weekend’s 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The game was played in front of a near-50,000 crowd at St James’s Park.
And Anita – who has been used in defence and midfield by Benitez this season – says the league is well-known in his native Holland.
“They show the games in Holland,” said Anita. “They know about it. It’s a hard league.
“Sometimes (the crowds) are even bigger than in Holland. It’s wealthy. It’s nice that the supporters keep supporting us.”
Meanwhile, Coventry City manager Tony Mowbray is looking forward to working with Newcastle defender Jamie Sterry.
The 20-year-old – who signed a new long-term contract at United last week after making his full debut – has joined the club on a half-season loan.
Sterry follows in the footsteps of forward Adam Armstrong, who scored 20 goals on loan at Coventry last season.
“I’m pleased to add another defender to the ranks as we welcome Jamie Sterry to the club,” said Mowbray.
“We’ve got a good relationship with Newcastle United, and Jamie is the latest player we’ve taken from the North East to strengthen our squad.
“He is only 20, but is a young talent with plenty of promise and will provide healthy competition in the wing-back position for us.
“Jamie made his debut for Newcastle in the Premier League last season, and I’m sure he will be a valuable addition to our squad.”