Brad Guzan has thanked manager Paul Lambert for staying true to his word and giving him the chance to prove himself at Aston Villa.
Guzan, 28, was released by Villa in the summer after failing to agree a new contract extension, before Lambert arrived to replace Alex McLeish, and the American goalkeeper was considering several offers of a fresh start at Championship clubs.
After numerous seasons of frustration behind Brad Friedel and Shay Given, Guzan was reluctantly poised to leave until Lambert promised all players would be starting with a clean slate and, if he signed a new contract, there would be a real opportunity to win the first choice spot.
"I had a really good conversation with the manager who said that everyone was to start on an even keel and that everyone would get an opportunity," he said in the Birmingham Mail.
"He told me it was up to the players to take that chance. That was the conversation and after that it was a no-brainer. I had a talk towards the end of last season (with the club) so it was always on the table, sort of thing.
"My contract expired and when that happens the club have to put a statement out saying 'x' amount of players have been released and so on. To be honest, that never really affected me in any way."
Guzan signed the new deal and the 28-year-old has now established himself as first choice ahead of Given, who gave up international football with the Republic of Ireland in the summer to concentrate on his club career.
And he is delighted the niggling feeling of unfinished business at Villa and Lambert's honesty persuaded him to stay, adding: "I had a few conversations going on with a few clubs. For me, after I had a conversation with the manager, I weighed up my options and I still felt like I could contribute to the club.
"I hadn't shown what I could bring to the table, if that makes sense. I still felt as though I had more to give. When the opportunity did come back, with everything else going on, I thought this would be my best fit.
"For me it was never a doubt of leaving the country or going back to the MLS, it was finding the right position where I could progress my career and move forward and really put my stamp on the game and ultimately the club."