The Sunderland defender is continuing his rehabilitation from the broken leg he suffered while on loan with Bradford last November.
The Republic of Ireland U21 international has thanked Sunderland for their support in his recovery, and he was delighted to sign a one-year extension to his contract last week.
"The whole club has been fantastic," he said. "It was tough having a setback like this but I'll come out of it the other side stronger.
"I'm watching a lot more football now than I used to, and maybe I did take things for granted a bit when I was playing every week.
"I'm so eager to get back now. I won't take a day for granted again in my career - I'm just very hungry to get back again.
"Obviously I've had a bit of a setback this year but I'm happy to get it all signed up now and I just have to concentrate on my rehab and getting back to full fitness as quickly as possible.
"After the injury you feel like you're back at zero but you've got to build up and get back to where you were.
"I'll obviously be more eager than last year to impress people at the club; that's what I have to strive for. It's good to know I've got another year to prove myself."