Ben Gibson says no decision made yet on Middlesbrough future
Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson has insisted no decision has been made over his future as Premier League rivals line up to pick over the bones of the relegated club.
Gibson, 24, has attracted the attention of potential suitors after enjoying a fine first Premier League campaign despite being unable to prevent his home-town club from slipping out of the top flight.
Chairman Steve Gibson, the player's uncle, is understood to be keen to keep him at the Riverside Stadium - indeed, one report has claimed he will definitely be staying this summer - all the while knowing every player has his price.
However, the central defender, who has been linked with Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in recent months during a campaign which has seen him break into the England squad, admits he does not know what will happen.
Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal is challenged by Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Arsenal at Riverside Stadium on April 17, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England.Getty Images
Asked about his future, he told BBC Tees: "I don't know, that's my honest answer.
"Everyone knows how much I love this football club - I always have done since I was 10 years old and walked in here. I've given absolutely everything.
"I would say that every player in the world wants to play in the Premier League and at the highest level, and I'm no different to that. No decisions have been made over my future and that's all I can say at this point."
As a local boy, Gibson has felt the pain of relegation as acutely as anybody, and he admits he would happily trade all the personal plaudits for top-flight football.
A dejected Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on May 8, 2017 in London, England.Getty Images
He said: "It's hard because all I'm bothered about is the team and the club, and I hope that's the same for every individual.
"In the summer, you go away and reflect. I know about my own performances, I've felt comfortable at this level and I feel like I belong here.
"But it's been difficult for the team and that's all I've thought about in terms of us getting relegated. I'd have swapped my own performances or getting into the England squad for Boro to survive."
Ben Gibson of England runs through drills with teammates during the England training session at the Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on March 25, 2017 in Enfield, England.Getty Images
Head coach Steve Agnew has been hugely impressed by Gibson's performances in the top flight and is convinced his future lies there.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's visit to Liverpool, Agnew said: "He's a Middlesbrough boy, he's been captain of the team for most of the season and he's a very, very proud Middlesbrough player.
"What I would say about Ben is that he is committed to this club. He's had a wonderful season as a player in a disappointing season for the club, and I have no doubt that Ben will play the majority of his career in the Premier League."