Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll has revealed that he's been 'trying to come back and wanting to come back' to the club for years, following his return to his hometown side some eight and a half years after he left to join Liverpool.
The 30-year-old made 90 appearances for Newcastle United during his first spell with the club, eventually leaving in a £35m deal to join Liverpool in 2011, before moving on a year later to spend seven years with West Ham.
After his time in east London came to an end in the summer, he returned to Newcastle as a free agent before the start of the season, and Carroll claims it's actually a move he's been pushing to get through for a number of years.
"Honest to God, I’ve been trying to come back and wanting to come back for years," Carroll told ChronicleLive. "I would have regretted it if I didn’t get to step on the pitch in the black and white again. I definitely would have regretted it."
Carroll has made nine appearances in the Premier League since returning to Tyneside, most recently picking up assists in games against Sheffield United and Southampton.
It's the first time since 2013 that Carroll has picked up an assist in back-to-back league matches, and the 30-year-old says that he's appreciating being able to play for his boyhood club a lot more the second time around.
"Yeah, I’ve said it to a few people, I appreciate it a lot more," he added. "Making my debut, starting the other day, creating goals, winning games, I appreciate it a lot more. I didn’t really get the chance to appreciate it the last time.
"I just kind of thought everyone got that chance at 17. I didn’t really understand it as much as I do now.
"Coming back, it’s a massive club, a massive stadium, massive fans. It’s part of me growing up. I never really appreciated it as much as I do now."
For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!