YOUNG Jets midfielder Angus Thurgate believes he is best placed to push his Olympic claims from Newcastle after turning down interest from rival A-League clubs to sign a two-year extension.
The 21-year-old Port Macquarie product, who was believed to have gained the attention of at least three A-League clubs, has committed to the Jets until the end of 2023.
The deal is more good news for the Jets, who this week appointed Craig Deans full-time coach until the end of 2022 after the side climbed off the bottom of the ladder with two wins and a draw in their past three outings.
"We were talking for a while and it's good to finally get it done," said Thurgate, who has been with the club since age 15.
"There was some interest from other clubs but Newcastle, the club and the people here, have been good to me, so it did make the decision easier.
"Deansy as well, the appointment of him, the boys have shown that we're willing to play for him, so it made it easier to make that decision."
Thurgate has made 48 A-League appearances since his debut in January 2018 and he became a regular in the Jets squad last season.
This campaign, he has started in all seven games, playing the full 90 minutes four times.
He said the desire to play regular minutes, especially in the lead-up to the Olyroos' campaign at the Tokyo Olympics in July-August, was another factor in his decision.
"I guess I'm just looking for consistency at the moment," he said. "I'm at an age where I need to be playing week in, week out and playing at a high level, which I hope to continue to do.
"[The Olympics] are exciting but it's going to be a tough team to make.
"There's so much quality around Australia and abroad from young Aussies. I guess a key part of that is to be playing regular football and playing it at a high level, so I think I can give it my best crack here at Newcastle."
With his speed, Thurgate has shown he can be an attacking threat up front, scoring in back-to-back appearance early last season, but he has done the hard yards in midfield this campaign.
He received high praise for his desperate effort on Sunday when he sprinted back from deep in his own half to help deny Melbourne City an equaliser in the 73rd minute of the 1-0 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium.
His decision to stay at the club beyond this season will be a boost for the Jets, who lose midfield workhorse Steve Ugarkovic to Western Sydney Wanderers after this campaign.
Thurgate appreciated the interest from other A-League clubs but said he was focused on developing his game at Newcastle.
"It's nice to get recognised like that, but I don't really look too much into it, I just try to grow as a player and become a better player," he said.
Playing overseas remained a long-term goal but Thurgate said "I'm not there yet".
"I need to keep playing regular, consistent football and hopefully I can continue to do that here for the next two years and take my game to the next level," he said.
"If that opens the door to go overseas, then that's great."
He said staying with the Jets meant it remained "only a short trip to visit the family" in Port Macquarie "although I sort of see Newcastle as home now".