"It's great to be back home," said a delighted Stewart Downing as he returned to Boro on Thursday. 

No sooner did the England midfielder sign his four-year contract than he was packing his bags to join up with the rest of Aitor Karanka's squad at their training camp in Marbella on Friday. 

"I always said I wanted to come back to this club and I'm delighted the chance has now come," he added. "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. 

"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."

 It's six years since the talented Academy product left for Aston Villa following Boro's relegation to the Championship, with Liverpool and West Ham his next stops in a career that has been spent entirely in the Premier League. 

"It would be the biggest achievement of my career if I could help us get back into the Premier League," he said. "I've spoken to Aitor Karanka and I can't wait to pull on a Boro shirt again. 

"There were other options on the table but it was moving back to Boro that really appealed to me. I can see what a good team they have and l'm as ambitious as ever to help this club succeed."

Downing also praised chairman Steve Gibson for his part in masterminding a transfer that has thrilled Boro fans. 

"This move wouldn't have happened without him," he said. "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."