Stewart Downing revealed his delight at re-signing for hometown club Middlesbrough, after the midfielder signed a four-year contract at the Riverside.Downing played 43 times for Premier League West Ham United last term, scoring six goals, but he believed the time was right for a north east homecoming.
“It’s great to be back home,” he said, to mfc.co.uk.
“I always said I wanted to come back to this club and I’m delighted the chance has now come. I didn’t put a time limit on it but now the circumstances are right.
“There was a shout about me coming back here on loan when I was at Liverpool, but for one reason or another it didn’t happen. But now I’m here, and I’m absolutely buzzing.
“This is a good time to be coming back to Boro, and hopefully I can enjoy another four to five years playing at the top.“
Downing, who departed the Riverside six years ago for Aston Villa before spells with Liverpool and the Hammers, is hoping it'll be a positive campaign with the focus on promotion to the top flight, which is where the Boro Academy product has spent his entire career.
And he would love nothing more than to reward popular club chairman Steve Gibson with a Premier League return.
“It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I could help us get back into the Premier League.
“This is a Premier League club with a really good team and they were so unlucky to lose out on promotion last season. Nothing went right for them in the Play-Off Final against Norwich but over the course of the season I think they deserved to go up.
“I can see what a good team they have and I’m as ambitious as ever to help this club succeed. I’ve spoken to Aitor Karanka and I can’t wait to pull on a Boro shirt again.
“This move wouldn’t have happened without him [Steve Gibson]. It was a difficult transfer to do but the chairman had a lot of faith in me and drove things through.
“I know what I have got to do to repay him and that is help the team win promotion.”