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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 20 January 2011

Leon Britton completes shock Swansea City return

Leon Britton
Leon Britton was a popular figure among Swansea City supporters

Leon Britton has completed his shock return to Swansea City, seven months after walking out on the club for Sheffield United.

The 28-year-old has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal and joins for an undisclosed fee, understood to be a free transfer.

Midfielder Britton ended his eight-year stay at Swansea in June 2010 to join the Blades after his contract expired.

"It was a mistake and I should never have left Swansea," admitted Britton.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing and none of us would make any mistakes if we knew what was ahead of us.

"Last season at Swansea wasn't the most enjoyable for me, on or off the field. I wasn't enjoying my football as I had in previous seasons.

"I felt at the end of that season I needed a new challenge. I spoke to Kevin Blackwell at Sheffield and I liked what he said about the way they wanted to play the game.

"Unfortunately it didn't work out as either of us planned.


"While working under four different managers in such a short space of time didn't help, the players, directors, staff and supporters at Sheffield United were great with me from the very first day I arrived.

"They are good people at the club, but I think they understood why I wanted to come back to Swansea.

"I realise now that the Swansea style suits me down to the ground and brings the best out of my abilities.''

Britton's departure from Swansea last summer was not a huge shock at the time.

His relationship with former Swans boss Paulo Sousa was strained ever since Sousa publicly revealed in December 2009 that Britton had not signed "the best contract in the history of the club".

Britton delighted at Swans return

The ex-West Ham trainee admitted he was "surprised and disappointed" by Sousa's comments and he found himself in and out of the starting team for the remainder of the season.

Fans' favourite Britton admitted it was a "huge wrench" to leave Swansea where he made 335 league and cup appearances, scoring 15 goals, but he felt he needed a fresh challenge.

Sousa left the Swans for the Leicester City job three weeks later and was replaced by Brendan Rodgers who has since guided the club to second in the Championship.

Sheffield United have struggled this season, having sacked Kevin Blackwell one week into the new campaign and his replacement, Gary Speed, quit after four months to take charge of Wales.

Ex-Swans boss Micky Adams is now in charge has let Britton go to make room for new faces, despite him being a regular figure making 26 appearances.

Rodgers admitted earlier this season that he was disappointed not to have had the chance of working with Britton, who would easily slot back into Swansea's passing style.

Rumours of a return for Britton first surfaced a week ago.

Britton helped the Swans beat the drop from the Football League in 2002 while on loan from West Ham.

He went on to sign a permanent deal and has enjoyed two promotions and a Championship play-off push in which he played a key role.

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see also
Swans put contract talks on hold
18 Jan 11 |  Swansea
Britton joins Blades from Swansea
11 Jun 10 |  Sheff Utd
Britton 'disappointed' with Sousa
14 Dec 09 |  Swansea
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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