GEORGE Thorne says he would be open to a permanent move to Derby County.
The West Bromwich Albion midfielder impressed during a loan spell with the Rams during the 2013/14 season and the club are keen to land the 21-year-old on a full-time basis over the summer.
Derby chief executive Sam Rush warned last week that patience may be required in the pursuit of Thorne, as the Baggies are currently without a manager.
But the player himself has suggested that his future lies away from the Hawthorns, with the iPro Stadium a possible next destination.
“I have had a fantastic time at Derby and I won’t rule out a move there,” said Thorne.
“The squad, the manager, the style of play, the fans – it’s a great club.
“Anyone who knows me will tell you that, compared to how I have been, I’m much happier now.
“I felt at home at Derby, I felt wanted at Derby, which I certainly didn’t at West Brom.
“I felt like a squad player at West Brom and most times not even that.
“I’ve never really had a sustained spell or a chance and enough’s enough.
“On my mind now is playing football and Derby is a very good option for me.”
Thorne came through the youth ranks at West Brom and has made 16 senior appearances for the Premier League club.
He signed a new contract just before leaving on loan in January but revealed his “heart is no longer there”.
Thorne had to wait for his chance at Derby but once he forced his way into the side in March, he started 12 games, nine of which ended in victory.
He helped them reach the Championship play-off final but the Rams fell just short of promotion, losing 1-0 to Queen’s Park Rangers at Wembley.
Despite that disappointment, the former England youth international believes Steve McClaren’s side are well placed to challenge again next term.
“Some people might see Derby as a step down but knowing the lads and the club, they are soon going to be back in the Premier League, so it would be one step back for two forward,” Thorne said.
“West Brom are aware of my feelings towards the club. My heart is no longer there – too much has happened.
“My family supported me when the club did not help me to progress.
“I just feel like I have never been given a proper opportunity at West Brom.
“I had a knee injury and it’s taken me almost a year-and-a-half to get back on track but now I’ve got back to this point, I’m not prepared to go and sit on somebody’s bench or be in somebody’s squad and have to wait for my time again.
“I’ve had plenty of opportunities just to get out and get play football and, at times, West Brom have made it really complicated.
“All I wanted to do was play football.”