Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel's short term contract with Middlesbrough has officially come to an end but insists that he will remain in England.
The Chelsea legend joined the side in January as a free agent, with Tony Pulis' outfit managing to finish six points off the summit; and after a bright start on his return to England, a run of six consecutive defeats denied Middlesbrough one of the four playoff spots.
Despite being disappointed by the team's failure to qualify for the playoff, the Nigerian midfielder spoke about his positive experiences at the Riverside Stadium.
"I think I will prefer to stay in England and continue my education in football. My family is here and it is a country that I have lived for more than ten years, so preferably I Will play in England next season hopefully in the EPL," he said.
The Nigerian international is also upbeat that Middlesbrough can mount a challenge for promotion to the English top-flight next season following their seventh-place finish this season.
"What I expected was to be in the playoffs or automatic promotion," Mikel told Northern Echo.
"I think we went through a bad spell when we lost six games in a row.
"A team like us with big players, a big dressing room, a big club, shouldn't have gone through that period.
"A lot went on, key injuries, red cards, a lot of chances we didn't take. You can point to a lot of things. This club should be at the top and I'm sure they will get there.
"I'm sure they will do exactly what they need to do (to come back stronger). The manager is a good manager, an experienced manager, I'm sure he will look at the team and know what he wants and then they will go from there.
"The feeling is we'll come back stronger next year. The players are hungry, they want to carry on, they want to be in the Premier League. It's good to see that. Hopefully next season they will do that."
Read more: Nigerian striker scores brace to secure three points for Mainz 05