JAMES White is back at Great Wakering Rovers - 18 years after leaving.

White first worked his way into the Wakering first team when aged just 16.

But, following spells at Dartford, Concord Rangers, East Thurrock United, Canvey Island and Bowers & Pitsea, White is now relishing a second spell at Burroughs Park at the age of 33.

“I’m buzzing to be back and I love the club,” said White.

“I’ve known the chairman Dave Patient a long time and I know OC (Iain O’Connell) too.

“I’ve got real personal sentiment for the club and they’ve really looked after me throughout the years so I’m really looking forward to it.”

White – who plays in both defence and midfield - is already relishing the prospect of lining up in Isthmian North next term.

However, he did have offers from elsewhere.

“The non-league merry go round has started and you’ll always have conversations and chats,” said White.

“If you’re half OK you will get calls but me knowing Dave, OC, the club and seeing their intent it was an easy decision to make.

“But I’m not coming here for nostalgic reasons.

“I want to push on with the club.”

And that means White is setting his sights high.

“Everyone will want to win the league or get into the play-offs and I don’t think we should be any different,” said White.

“We need to build from where they were last year and I’d definitely love the play-offs.”

White’s return is also a signal of intent from Wakering.

And Rovers boss Iain O’Connell – who is enjoying his third spell in charge of the club – is pleased to have been reunited with White.

“It’s fantastic,” said O’Connell.

“James made his debut here for me and Dave when he was 16.

“We saw what a good player he was then and we knew he was going to go higher.

“We could tell how good he was going to be but I’m pleased he’s back with us now.”

But O’Connell is also relishing his own return to Rovers.

“It’s been great, “said the 51-year-old.

“I got a call from Dave with four games left last season.

“I had watched the game before and they were definitely a good enough side to stay in the league but they needed a bit of direction and some talking to.

“The dressing was like a morgue when I first came here but we soon changed that.

“We won two and drew two and stayed up by seven points.”

However, O’Connell is now having to rebuild his squad.

“Unfortunately that squad has been decimated now with two previous managers taking half the squad away from us,” said O’Connell.

“But I’m really looking forward to next season.”

And O’Connell is already working tirelessly to put a new squad together.

“It’s relentless and I’ve been on the phone all night every night which might end in a divorce soon,” said O’Connell.

“It’s so hard and some clubs in this league the money is unbelievable. “There’s players in our league last year who were on £500 a week.

“It’s mad but we had a trialist game on Saturday with about 32 boys so we’ll pick up a few from that and there are others we’re interested in too.”