Dan Harding today revealed he is ready to commit his long-term future to Albion.

The England under-21 leftback is close to signing a deal with the Seagulls through to the end of season 2006-07.

Harding has been offered a two-year extension to his current contract, which still has a year to run.

"I think it has just all got to be finalised," he said. "I love it here. I've been here since I left school and I want to sign.

"I've got a house here and my family are here, so I don't see why I need to go anywhere else.

"I enjoy the company of the boys. The team spirit is absolutely brilliant.

"When you go up to somewhere like the England training camp you realise what team spirit we have here at Brighton and the laughs we have every day. It makes it a joy to come into training."

Harding was back training with Albion yesterday after making his debut for Peter Taylor's under 21s on Tuesday night in the 3-1 friendly victory over Ukraine at Middlesbrough.

The 20-year-old, brought on at half time, enjoyed the whole experience. "A few of the lads have been there for a couple of years and know each other quite well, so it's quite tough to go into an environment where you are a sort of outsider looking in," he said.

"But the lads made me feel welcome from the moment I got there, which was nice.

"I had a slight suspicion I would get on. Peter Taylor had said some stuff in the press which indicated he was going to give a chance to people on the lefthand side of the team.

"He told me ten minutes before half time to get warmed up and then as the whistle blew for half time he told me I would be coming on.

"I was quite nervous at the start, but once I had a few touches of the ball I got into it and enjoyed it and the nerves went.

"I thought it went all right for me. I looked at the first half. It's a bit different to what I am used to on a Saturday. I saw they kept the ball a lot better and that's what I tried to do."

Harding is now in contention for the under-21s' first European Championship qualifier in Austria a fortnight tomorrow.

His immediate aim is to regain his Albion place at Wigan on Saturday after giving away a goal at Reading and a penalty against Plymouth, which led to a red card and a ban for last Saturday's home draw with Coventry.

"Playing for England has been more than what I needed," said Harding. "Obviously I was a bit down after what happened in the last two games.

"It has given me an unbelievable lift. I am raring to go now and hopefully I can push my way back into the team."