Burnley captain Ben Mee delighted to resolve his future by signing new contract
Ben Mee will lead Burnley out for their first competitive game overseas in 51 years tonight.
And he will do so having committed himself to the club for at least another three years, having signed a new contract on Tuesday night.
The former Manchester City man had entered the last year of his deal, and the club risked losing him for nothing next summer.
But, he has extended his stay until 2021 - with an option of an extra 12 months.
That could take Mee to 10 years at the club, having arrived, initially on loan, from City in the summer of 2011.
And, ahead of the Europa League third qualifying round first leg against Istanbul BaÅŸakÅŸehir, he was happy to sort out his future: “It’s very pleasing and I’m delighted to put my name down for another three to four years maybe.
“I’ve been a big part of this club for the last five years, I’d like to think, and hopefully that can carry on for the next few years.
“I spoke to the gaffer last season and said I wanted to stay at the club. I enjoy it here and that’s the main thing for me.
“I enjoy my football, playing week-in, week-out and doing well on most occasions, being consistent.
“It’s nice to get it off my back now and be able to concentrate on the season and focus on that.”
He signs at a time where the club are in the middle of their European adventure, having brought in three more signings to boost the squad this week in centre back Ben Gibson, England keeper Joe Hart and Czech forward Matej Vydra and he added: “It’s exciting, what’s going on at the club, and this is a big part of it as well.
“It’s moving forward and growing massively. The change has been brilliant and hopefully we can carry it on and keep progressing. It’s exciting to be involved in.”
Gibson brings huge competition to the centre back area, where Mee and James Tarkowski were first choice last season.
All three will have England ambitions, and Mee admitted: “It’s definitely helped competition and pushes us all to work harder.
“That’s what you want in a squad of this stature and we’re all working hard to get in the team and stay in the team. It’s all healthy.
“It’s a great thing for a squad to have, everyone will be training and working hard to try and be that person in that position, it’s a competitive squad, and that’s what you want. We’ll see how it goes. It’s shaping up to be a very good squad and we’re looking forward to the challenges.”
Hart’s arrival means Burnley have three of the last five keepers to be capped by England, and Mee feels it is another shrewd move: “He’s only been with us two days but he brings a lot to the squad, his experience is the main factor, he’s been around the game a long time, he’s played in big games internationally and at club level, so he brings a lot of experience and talent, and it’s healthy competition for the goalkeepers fighting for their place.”
Burnley enter the unknown somewhat tonight, albeit BaÅŸakÅŸehir have a number of players who have played in the Premier League, including Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Gokhan Inler and Emre: “They (Basaksehir) have some experienced players, very good players, who have been around the game a long time.
“We expect a difficult game and a tough tie, but hopefully one we can come out the other side and get through.”
Mee was at Manchester City with Adebayor, and knows what to expect: “I remember a lot. I trained with him a lot up against him. I’ve got that experience and he’s been a fantastic player. Whether he plays or not, he’s a threat off the bench or whatever capacity he plays in.”