DORUS de Vries is loving life at Celtic at the moment. He is playing in the first team at long last after taking over from his injured club mate Craig Gordon. He has big games coming up and trophies to play for.

But De Vries has revealed he was close to leaving the Parkhead club in the summer after a Premier League club in England showed interest - and was prevented from doing so by his manager Brendan Rodgers.

De Vries has replaced Craig Gordon, who suffered a serious knee injury, in goals in the Scottish champions last three games against Hibernian, Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Read more: Dorus de Vries: Injury-ravaged Celtic have the squad to cope with Zenit St Petersburg Europa League showdowns

His promotion to the first team has, despite the 1-0 loss at Rugby Park at the weekend, lifted the spirits of the Dutchman, who spent the vast majority of last season on the sidelines.

The 37-year-old, who has previously played at Swansea City, Wolves and Nottingham Forest, admitted he had serious considered returning down south in order to secure a regular first team start.

However, Rodgers, who he had worked under at Swansea, refused to even consider allowing him to depart, something he is now grateful for.

Asked if he had thought about departing Parkhead at the end of his first season in Scotland, he said: “Yes, of course. I did. In the summer, there was also some interest. I could have gone back to the Premier League, but, at that moment, I wasn’t allowed to go. Simple as.

“Besides the not playing bit, which always hurts, all the other bits were really, really good. The coaching staff keep you going. I’m really fortunate with my goalkeeping coach, Stevie Woods, who keeps me going.

“I’m really fortunate with my family, who are really enjoying where we live. It’s a great area. We have a winning team, being involved in a European-playing team. Winning trophies. Stuff like that. You take that on board as well and it keeps you fighting for more.

“Like I said, there were possibilities in the summer, but there was no option of going. You have to respect that decision and make the most of it. You can’t mope about it. You can’t go and sit the in corner and cry. That would be no use. You have to take it on the chin and try to make the most of the situation.”

De Vries, though, is glad he stayed. He has enjoyed being involved in the first team again and is looking forward to the big games they have coming up, including against Zenit St Petersburg in the Europa League. He is also relishing working under Rodgers.

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Speaking as Celtic announced their women’s team had secured a two years sponsorship deal with IT and Communications company Exsel Group, he said: You never know what’s going to happen when you move. There are a lot of teams down south and it might be you are fighting relegation. There might be a change of manager or a change ownership.

“How many times have we seen that happen? Football is crazy like that and I had to take into account what I have here. I have great support and the respect of my team mates and the coaching staff.

“I’ve worked with the gaffer in the past and he’s been great for me. I really enjoyed working with him at Swansea. Am I happy how it’s gone? At the moment. I’m always happiest when I am playing and right now I am playing.

“There were a lot of things to think about. Did I want to move again? What are the possibilities? You weigh the pros and cons and think what’s best for me and my family. Then there’s loyalty to the gaffer and I also had a point to prove to him. I wanted to fight for him as well.

“He said he didn’t want to lose me because of my experience and the type of guy I am in the dressing room.

“If you only have a couple of weeks left in the transfer window, who are you going to get in? It can be tricky and I understood how he felt. Sometimes because the window is so time sensitive you can’t let players go.”

De Vries picked up three winners’ medals last season as Celtic won the Betfred Cup, Ladbrokes Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup even though he only featured in five first team games. He is hoping to earn any honours he may pick up this season on merit.

“If we do it again this year then it will feel different, feel better,” he said. “You want your club to be successful whether you play or not but, if you are in the team, then you really feel as though you’ve made a contribution.

"Don’t get me wrong; being the type of guy I am, when I was out of the side last year then I made sure that everyone else around me was focused and ready.

“That’s the role you have when you’re not starting games and I made sure that I was prepared for every single game in case I was called upon. I always try to help the guys around me because that’s what I’ve always done – I’m a team player.

“But, of course, when you’re taking part in the games, you feel as though you’re helping even more; it’s as simple as that.”