THE loan youngster who fought back from Rotherham United fan abuse has left the door open to a possible return to AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Zak Vyner is back at parent club Bristol City after a season-long spell with Paul Warne's men and the defender’s preferred option is to remain at Ashton Gate to fight for his place in Lee Johnson's Championship side.
But Vyner, who turned 22 earlier this month, isn't ruling out a second stint in South Yorkshire despite his initial stay being marred by an unsavoury incident last January.
“I love the lads here,” he said. “They're a great bunch of people. The clubs would have to speak to each other.
“I have a love for Bristol City as well. I've been there for a long time and want to put my stamp on it there. I'm hoping next season is the time I can prove myself at City.
“I'm not saying 'no' but I can't say 'yes' either. It's out of my hands.”
Vyner made 31 league appearances at right-back last term as Rotherham slid out of the Championship after a brave battle against the drop.
He suffered criticism from some supporters, culminating in him being jeered off when he was substituted during a home defeat against Brentford at the turn of the year.
But he showed the character to win over the doubters by playing the best football of his loan stint after that episode.
“What happened wouldn't put me off coming back,” he said. “It was one of those situations where in the game tensions were high not just on the pitch but in the stands as well.
“A lot of people have said to me it was a minority of fans. I've just got to stick with that and believe that, I suppose.
“If I starting thinking about pleasing everybody, it would change the way I play and I'd end up playing worse.”
London-born Vyner, part of the Bristol set-up since he was nine, arrived at New York as a centre-half but played all his games for the Millers as a right-back and is no longer sure of his most effective position.
“I don't know. I can't answer that question,” he said. “I've loved playing right-back here but I love playing centre-half as well. It's a conversation I need to have with the manager back home and go from there.”
Whatever happens, the player, who has two years left on his Robins deal, will always remember Rotherham boss Warne with affection and respect.
“He's been unbelievable,” Vyner said. “He's definitely emotionally attached to all of his players and he wants us to do really well in our careers.
“His motto is: 'Be the best you can be at all times.' He wants to get every ounce of greatness out of you that he can.
“He is a really good guy, a really great manager and he's helped me massively. For him to have the faith to play me in 31 games in the Championship has given me a really big confidence boost.
“He'll always put your personal feelings ahead of the football feelings. He wants to win every game but if you're not right in the headspace, if something is going on elsewhere not connected to football, he'll always check you're OK.
“He looks at you as a human being before he looks at you as a footballer. He's a brilliant man-manager. He'll always put his players first. You can tell that he'll do anything for you.”
This article first appeared in the Advertiser