STEVE AGNEW thinks Ben Gibson is destined for a successful England career after impressing in his first year as a Premier League footballer – regardless of whether the defender stays on Teesside or not this summer.

The centre-back is courting interest from Champions League chasing clubs and the 24-year-old opened the door for a switch yesterday by claiming “no decision” has been made on his future just yet.

Gibson’s comments follow suggestions from well-placed senior sources at the Riverside Stadium that his uncle, chairman, Steve Gibson, is determined to keep hold of him to strengthen the push for promotion in the Championship.

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"I'm obviously contracted to the football club," said Gibson, the player. “It's been a hard year for everyone. What I would say is that since I came here at ten years old, I've given my lot for the football club.

"I think every player in the world wants to play in the Premier League, everyone wants to play at the top level. I'm no different to that. What I would say is that no decision has been made regarding my future as of yet.”

The reality is that every player has a price and the £30m-rated defender will not be short of offers, no matter how hard the chairman fights to keep him.

Agnew, whose own future is unclear ahead of what could be his last game in charge when he leads the team to Liverpool tomorrow, can fully understand why the Anfield club are one of a number of teams interested in his signature.

The head coach said: “What I would say is he's young, he's English and a left-sided defender, how many of them are they in the Premier League or the top end of the Championship? I can't think of too many.

“That's one of the reasons and Ben is a boy, who, I've known for a number of years, is a leader, he's a man, he's had a terrific season in the Premier League and he just has all the attributes to go on and eventually cement himself into the England squad.”

As well as Liverpool it is understood that Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are all keeping tabs on him, as well as Everton among others. Who pushes for him the most could depend on where Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Burnley’s Michael Keane end up.

Agnew said: “Of course (it will be hard to keep hold of him), but the club can't really do anything, Ben's under contract until something happens and if there is interest that's up to the chairman and the board to decide what they want to do.”

Gibson has played every one of Boro's 37 matches in the Premier League and he has helped to keep 11 clean sheets despite suffering relegation with his hometown team; form he thinks proves he can handle the top-flight.

He said: “I feel like I've done well personally. I pride myself on our team keeping clean sheets and trying to lead a back line, being in control of it and then trying to play out from the back, helping the team going forward when I can.

"We feel we have done that well, but trying to be a perfectionist, which I am, there are times we should have kept more clean sheets. Particularly lately we have conceded more goals than we should have.

"I think personally I've been encouraged by my performances. Until you step foot over the white line in a new division, you don't know if you can play at that level.

"I believe in myself that I'm capable of playing at this level and I've enjoyed testing myself against what are some of the best players in the world."

Gibson is likely to partner Calum Chambers again at the heart of the defence and it would be no surprise if the two play again together at some stage for England.

Chambers has been on loan all season and he will be desperate to lead Boro to a shock win at Anfield to help Arsenal leapfrog the Reds in the battle for a top four spot on the final day.

Agnew said: “I think Calum will approach the game like he has done every game this season, he's been top class. Calum's got a really, really bright future in front of him, wonderful boy to work with, top professional, really pleased with his performances and we really missed him when he was injured.

“What I would say he's an Arsenal player and he might have a few texts come through from his team-mates there but they all be supportive and Calum will be doing his very best to put on a top performance for us at Liverpool.”