Wheater fears being sold
Middlesbrough defender David Wheater has said that he wants to stay at the club and get them back in the Premier League, but fears being sold to balance the books.
Wheater, a Boro fan, insists the prospect of Championship football will not prompt him to ask for a transfer, and he feels a year in the second tier will not harm his long-term England ambitions. The only way the 22-year-old will leave is if boss Gareth Southgate accepts a bid for the centre-back.
"I've got two more years left here so it is up to the manager," Wheater said. "I'm happy to stay here. I won't ask for a transfer but if the manager accepts another bid then that is a different matter. Maybe if I was 28 or 29 and still hadn't played for England then I might be thinking differently but I've got plenty of years ahead to get in the England squad.
"I've supported Boro all my life so they are a team I want to be playing for at the moment and try to get them back up. That's where I want to be, the Premier League with Middlesbrough. I think we can get straight back. I think we have enough quality to do that."
Wheater admits the likes of Stewart Downing and Tuncay Sanli are "too good" for the Championship. Downing's situation has been complicated by a long-term ankle injury, with his team-mates expecting him to be out for six months.
"I think Stewart Downing is too good for the Championship," Wheater said. "Tuncay as well, he's too good for the Championship. But it is down to them. I'd like to think that I'm too good for the Championship but that's obviously where I'm heading at the moment."
Another player who could move is Matthew Bates, who is out of contract in the summer and attracting clubs such as West Ham. Wheater himself is due for knee surgery so a move could be dependent on his recovery. He has family in the area and would not relish a move.
"It would be horrible," he said. "To move away from my family and friends as well. I'm young and haven't been away from my family before so that would be hard but it's a job at the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you. I haven't thought about it because this is the club I want to be at."
The operation will rule him out of the European Championships with England U-21s this summer.