Sidwell delighted to be back in the Premier League

Steve Sidwell celebrates Albion's winner at home to Sheffield Wednesday in January. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Steve Sidwell celebrates Albion's winner at home to Sheffield Wednesday in January. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Midfielder Steve Sidwell is delighted to be back in the Premier League and says Albion have come a long way since his debut for the club in 2002.

Sidwell first played for the Seagulls on loan from Arsenal in the 2002/03 campaign and scored five goals in 12 games.

He then played for Reading, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke - with much of his career in the Premier League - before returning to Albion on loan from Stoke in January, 2016.

After Brighton just missed out on promotion in the 2015/16 campaign, Sidwell penned a permanent one-year deal last summer and helped Brighton return to the top flight of English football after a 34-year absence as they finished runners-up to Newcastle in the Championship.

He is now relishing running out at the Amex in the Premier League and said: “From the days at the Withdean, who would have thought we’d be playing Premier League football in a lovely stadium like the Amex, against some of the greatest footballers in the world?

“I’m delighted to sign a new deal. It was obviously the main reason why I came to the club, to get back into the Premier League. I saw the visions of everyone, it was an achievable goal and we’ve done that.

“I left Stoke to come to Brighton and achieve a goal, and it was one that we could all see in the near future. The season before last was a blessing in disguise, we were mentally stronger this year.

“It’s a nice feeling to be back in the Premier League, it’s going to be tough but it’s a challenge that we should all be looking forward to.”

Sidwell is also looking forward to continuing working under Albion boss Chris Hughton and said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to work under some of the best coaches in the world throughout my career, and he’s definitely one of them.

“He’s been brilliant, especially with me being a senior pro. It’s great to get the deal over the line and work with him again."

The 34-year-old was pleased with his own form last season and added: “You always want to play more games, but I understand there’s going to be squad rotation throughout the season.

“But on the whole, I think I performed to a decent level throughout the season, hence being offered a new contract and given the chance to stake a place in Brighton’s Premier League team.”

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