Chris Eagles has no Burnley FC regrets
And he is determined to help the club back into the Premier League.
In the summer, Eagles turned down a move to SPL champions Rangers, before agreeing an extension to his Burnley contract, taking him through to 2012.
He has responded by forcing his way back into Brian Laws’ side, and he has stood out in the last two games - the goalless draw at Crystal Palace and Tuesday’s Carling Cup win over Bolton.
The 24-year-old said, after inspiring the Clarets to victory over former boss Owen Coyle’s Wanderers: “It wasn’t hard (to stay) at all. To be honest it was harder to leave, that’s why I didn’t.
“It feels right here. I can’t explain it, I just feel happy.
“My mum’s always brought me up to play with a smile on my face, and if I’m not happy, what’s the point in doing it?
“I’d play for nothing. I love the game. It’s all I want to do.”
After ending last season out of the side, amid the gloom of relegation, Eagles admits: “My head was all over the place”, going into the final year of his contract.
But having made his mind up to stay and help Burnley’s promotion push, he is enjoying his football again: “I thank the fans for sticking with me, because when the season started there were a lot of rumours saying I was leaving.
“I went up to Rangers but it didn’t feel right.
“I’m pleased I’m settled now, and I thank Brian for what he’s done for me, for having faith in me and pushing Brendan Flood for my contract and start playing me so I can prove what I can do.
“I want to take Burnley back up there and I’m not going to stop until I do.”
Constructive advice from Laws over the defensive side of his game has reaped dividends, and given him an extra dimension, and he admitted: “I think, learning the game you have to do it, and growing up I haven’t done that.
“That’s why I came out of the tean when Brian came in because he didn’t think I did it enough.
``I have had a lot of talks with him asking him to tell me what he wanted me to do and now I do it.
``I am fit. I know I can do, it is just a matter of someone talking to me.
In pre-season it went well and that was when Brian sat down with Brendan Flood and myself and wanted me to sign.
``So when it was finally done I started playing and I’m loving every minute of it.”
Eagles, in particular, loves the big stage, and he revelled in the atmosphere on Tuesday night as Burnley wrote another memorable chapter in their recent history.
Coyle’s return cranked up the crowd, and Eagles smiled: “It was brilliant. I love those nights when the crowd’s hyper.
“If you hear the fans cheering for you it makes it better. I was struggling with my legs in the last half an hour but you hear the fans and you just want to keep going for them.
“It was brilliant and it was one of those games that I love and I had a smile on my face.
“When the ball was out of play, I heard the stick that Owen was getting. It was quite funny!
“I expected it, because you hear rumours around the town about what’s going to happen, but it’s all fun and all part of the game.
“They were always going to give him a bit of stick, but then he did a lot for the club.
“He brought me here and he gave me the faith to play, and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him. I’ll always have respect for him like I do for Sir Alex.”
Sir Alex’s team would provide the ideal opponents for the former Old Trafford starlet, but he is focussing on Bristol City at Turf Moor tomorrow, rather than the lunchtime draw.
And he would like nothing more than to go one better against the Robins, after striking the woodwork in each of the last two games: “It’s winding me up to be honest because I’ve hit the bar and the post and nothing seems to be going in at the moment.
“I’m practising a lot of my shooting in training and my final ball and my delivery.
“But if we’re winning 1-0 I don’t mind not scoring, as long as I get an assist.”
l Burnley Reserves drew 3-3 at Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday night, with goals from Alex MacDonald, Wes Fletcher and Chris Anderson.