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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