Southend could be about to offer Rohan Ricketts his first contract in English football since 2008, and the 28-year-old believes he is a better player - and person - after his stint overseas, during which time he has become something of a media celebrity in Canada of all places.
A former Arsenal trainee, Ricketts first burst onto the scene for Tottenham during Glenn Hoddle's tenure as manager, but found first-team opportunities more difficult to come by after the former England boss left White Hart Lane.
Ricketts joined Wolves in 2005, having spent a successful loan spell at Molinuex, before leaving the Black Country two years later for Barnsley.
However, the English forward lasted only one season at Oakwell, and was offered the opportunity to rebuild his languishing career with MLS outfit Toronto FC.
Here, Ricketts began to demonstrate other talents - mostly in front of the television cameras - as he carved a niche for himself as a roving reporter for Toronto FC.
His natural charisma and charm have also seen him work as a pundit on live broadcasts in Canada, while he has since been a columnist for Canada's largest sportsradio network, CJCL.
After a year playing for Toronto, Ricketts had spells in Hungary, Moldova and Germany but is now ready to make his mark on home soil once more.
Ricketts has already greatly impressed Southend boss Paul Sturrock - scoring a hat-trick in a friendly victory over Great Wakering Rovers - and a contract could soon be in the offing.
And, for Ricketts, it would mean a great deal to get recognition in the country of his birth.
"I'm very hopeful, I want to come back and play in England this year and to kick back up the leagues," Ricketts told BBC Essex.
"The Southend fans have taken to me already, whether it's been in the physical, on Twitter or on my website, they've been amazing.
"I'm really hungry, I'm really focused. The old Rohan Ricketts probably wouldn't have scored three goals the other night,
"Going away has made me become a man and when you become a man you're more responsible on the pitch.
"I'm grateful to Southend and Paul Sturrock for giving me the opportunity to impress them, now that I've done that I hope that everything can be agreed."
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