Luke O'Nien says he is loving life at Sunderland AFC, and is delighted he will almost certainly be staying at least another season.

Although out of contract at the end of the current campaign, manager Phil Parkinson revealed recently that a clause in his deal means Sunderland can choose to extend contract an extra 12 months should they wish.

And with O'Nien excelling under the new manager just as he did under previous manager Jack Ross, it is expected they will take that option up.

Asked his thoughts on it, and if he was happy to stay, O'Nien replied with a trademark smile: "100 per cent. I can’t thank enough the people who helped me to this stage, even the people who aren’t part of the club anymore.

"They’ve helped me to this day and I owe a lot of people credit for me being here because they’ve worked with me, they’ve been patient with me - the fans as well - and until whenever my contract runs out, I’ll make sure to that last day that I give my all for this club.

"The North East has welcomed me and my family, and on the football front it’s developed me as a player. I’m very proud to be a part of this great club.

"I know it’s not in the best part of its history, but I’ve loved playing for it. I’ve still got a lot of work to do because it’s nowhere near where I want to be and where the fans’ expectations want us to be. It’s hard not being where we want to be, but it’s enjoyable knowing we can work for it every day and that it’s well in our reach."

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O'Nien, having initially struggling to settle after last summer's move from Wycombe Wanderers, has become a main stay in the Sunderland side, and among the most popular players with supporters also.

Always smiling and giving his all for the cause, he has often been portrayed as the shining example of the type of player Sunderland should be targeting in the transfer market.

And why wouldn't he smile? he suggests. He's having a blast on Wearside.

"I get to play football every day at one of the biggest clubs in England - why wouldn’t you smile?" he said.

"You’ve got to look around and see what you’ve got, not just in football but in life. I’ve got a family that’s always backing me and more family up here who have welcomed me into the North East.

"I get to work every single day to push my mind and body to the best of my capabilities to help this club win the league. You’ve got thousands of people coming to support you every week, so why wouldn’t you be grateful?

"When I speak to Dunc [Watmore], I always call him Sky Sports Dunc, because I remember watching him on Premier League Years - and now he’s a team-mate and good friend of mine.

"I grew up watching this club and I remember looking at it and going ‘wow’. Then when you become a part of it, it’s a bit surreal at first.

"I’ve loved being up here, even the management staff kicking me out because they say I’ve been working too hard!

"It’s a great place for me - the facilities, the stadium, the fanbase, the potential of where we could go. I love it, why wouldn’t I want it to continue?"