Tom Cairney has insisted that he was never going to leave Fulham during the January transfer window – and has described the prospect of captaining the club in the Premier League as ‘a dream come true’.

The Scottish midfielder was the subject of fevered speculation last month, with West Ham and West Brom linked with moves for his signature, but Fulham were adamant that they were not going to sell any of their key players. Sky Sports News even went as far as saying that Cairney had told Fulham he wanted to join West Ham – but Cairney told GetWestLondon’s Ryan O’Donovan that he has long since learned not to pay too much attention to the rumours.

I don’t think I was ever going to leave. There’s a project here and my dream is to take Fulham up and be the captain in the Premier League – that would be a dream come true.

I can’t do anything more than sign a contract extension, there was a lot of rumours and stuff but honestly, there was speculation about me but it means I’m just doing stuff right and people are appreciating it which is always good for me. It means I’m playing well but it’s the same for other players, teams would want other players in our side, like (Ryan) Sessegnon, just because we have a good team at the minute, and long may it continue.

Cairney, whose return to the side for Saturday’s impressive 2-0 win over Aston Villa was his first start since 2nd January, said that, after experiencing problems in training throughout the season, fitting back into Slavisa Jokanovic’s starting line-up was the easy part.

It’s brilliant to play in this team, we always play the same way no matter what game so it’s quite easy to come back into a team like this because we always play one way – it’s just like getting back on a bike. Training hasn’t been easy, it’s been quite tough and I’ve had some down days, some okay days and hopefully everything is okay after this game and we’ll see how it is.

It’s been so frustrating, I can’t explain how mind numbing it’s been all season. I was desperate to get out there today because it was the biggest game in the Football League and it was good to be part of. I didn’t really feel much pain today but I don’t know about after this, we’ll have to see how it goes.

I have a strong family around me and team mates and physios – it’s quite hard but there will be light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to get fully pain free and keep doing that.