Jonathan Woodgate declared himself delighted after signing a four-year deal with Middlesbrough.
The defender, on loan from Real Madrid this season, ended months of speculation as he committed his long-term future to The Riverside.
And he claims he decided some time ago that he wanted to continue playing for his home-town club.
"I made my mind up about three months ago, to be honest, but we could not really say anything," he revealed.
"I went into the manager's office and told him I wanted to sign. I think he was caught unexpectedly when I told him I wanted to sign."
Woodgate has earned rave reviews for his performances this season and is relishing the challenge ahead over the next few years.
"I am extremely happy. It has been an ambition of mine to play for the club and I am doing that now - I am going to do that for the next four years," he enthused.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here working with the manager and all the other players. I am just really happy."
Gareth Southgate added that he and chairman Steve Gibson were thrilled to secure such a significant signing.
"We are absolutely delighted. The chairman used the word `iconic'.
"We are looking to build something here at Middlesbrough and to be able to bring a world-class player to the club, back to his home town - to be able to secure his signature permanently - is a fantastic start for us in terms of building the future here."