LEWIS MORGAN has ruled out returning to Sunderland next season, and revealed a phone call from Celtic boss Neil Lennon has bolstered his hopes of breaking into the first team at Parkhead.

Morgan spent the second half of last season on loan with the Black Cats, making 22 appearances as he developed into a permanent fixture in Jack Ross’ senior squad.

His final outing of the campaign saw him leave the substitutes’ bench to replace Max Power in the opening ten minutes of the play-off final at Wembley, and there had been suggestions that Ross might look to re-sign him for next season.

However, with his loan deal now at an end, Morgan insists he has drawn a line under time on Wearside. Instead of looking to set up another loan move next term, the 22-year-old will be focusing all his efforts on forcing his way into Celtic’s starting line-up.

“He (Lennon) gave my agent a ring and spoke to him,” said Morgan. “It has been quite a quick turnover for him, and I am sure he has been busy.

“The club have done really well, getting the treble treble, which is obviously unprecedented, so I am looking forward to going back in and working with him.

“The aim is to play (at Celtic), it always has to be the aim. Being part of things, week in and week out, is what you want to do. If you can get into that Celtic team, then hopefully you can be part of things with Scotland as well.”

While Morgan has proved he can handle himself at League One level in England, he faces a major battle to force his way into a Celtic side that already boasts a plethora of midfield options.

James Forrest, Jonny Hayes, Mikey Johnston, Scott Sinclair and Daniel Arzani all figured prominently last season, and Celtic will also welcome Ukrainian winger Maryan Shved at the start of pre-season after signing him in January before loaning him back to Karpaty Lviv.

“Of course there is big competition,” said Morgan. “I knew when signing for the club that it was going to be like that. But I am looking at it in the way that it helps everyone improve if we are fighting over two spots.

“You always need to be at your best. If that helps push me on, then it can only be a good thing. I still back myself. I was obviously disappointed with the game time and how it went, but I went out, got games and now, I’m looking forward to going back.”

Morgan’s departure is one of a number of changes to Sunderland’s midfield department that are anticipated this summer. Dylan McGeouch has been linked with Rangers and Aberdeen after struggling to force his way into Ross’ plans last term, while youngster Luke Molyneux confirmed his departure as a free agent earlier this week. Aiden McGeady’s wages mean he remains vulnerable if there is interest from elsewhere.