Ben Gibson says he's relishing being back in action with Boro after the squad returned to Rockliffe for pre-season last week.

Boro kicked off the campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of York City, but Gibson wasn't involved for precautionary reasons after picking up a knock in training.

"It's really good to be back," said Gibson. "Ever since the last day of the season we were desperate to get back. 

"You're itching to get back after a few weeks in any season, but when you've got the prospect of the Premier League it's even more exciting - now we want to build on what we did last season and build a legacy. 

"We've got into the Premier League and now we want to stay there.

"I trained last week - it was my first week back - but I just had a kick off Jordan (Rhodes) and obviously you're not going to take any chances in pre-season. 

"But I've trained all this week and I'm absolutely fine."New 

With the squad growing apace and signings arriving thick and fast, Gibson says all of the new faces have slotted in well to what is already a strong group in the Boro dressing room.

"They're all nice lads who have come in and worked hard," he said. "We've got a very good group of people here. 

"They're demanding and they expect of each other. We have leaders and winners and the new lads will have to adhere to that, which they have straight away. 

"You can't tell too much about what people are going to be like until the going gets tough, but they seem like lovely lads and good footballers more importantly. 

"We have an identity and camaraderie which has got us through, especially when the going did get tough last year. 

"We stuck together and ground results out which I think you need to get out of that league. 

"We had hard times but came through it and it's vital that anyone who does come in buys into that because if they didn't the players and leaders within the dressing room wouldn't stand for it."