Although James Milner has been told point blank that he will not be guaranteed a first team spot this new campaign, Duff is confident enough to believe he will be an automatic first choice under manager Glenn Roeder.
Duff: ‘I just knew it was time to move on. I only had a year left on my contract, so he (Mourinho) couldn’t say no when I asked to go. There was no problem. I also rang Peter Kenyon a few weeks ago and said if any clubs come in for me then I would like to speak to them.
‘I was as honest as the day is long with him. I said ‘I know I’m not guaranteed a place, and I’m not asking for that, but I have to play football. Although I’ve had three great years, I had to go. People who don’t know their stuff will say I struggled and didn’t play a lot of games, but it’s the complete opposite.
‘At Chelsea, where there are megastars, superstars, I probably would have won more medals, but simply not played as many games as I would have liked. I just want to play week in and week out because when I do that I am at my best, and who’s to say we won’t win trophies here?
‘Hopefully I can become a hero, and I’m not saying I left just to get worshipped. I just want to play football and be happy inside because I’ve not been happy for a while. I hope this is a place I can be happy.’