Harrogate Town re-capture ex-Leeds United and Chelsea midfielder

Former Chelsea prodigy Michael Woods is back at Harrogate Town, four years after departing Wetherby Road.

The 28-year-old attacking midfielder, who commanded a seven-figure transfer fee as a teenager, returns to the club from National League rivals Hartlepool United.

Michael Woods has re-joined Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Michael Woods has re-joined Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham

He has signed a permanent deal at the CNG Stadium and will be in contention to make his second debut in a Town shirt when Braintree Town visit North Yorkshire on Saturday.

York-born Woods left Leeds United to join Chelsea in 2006 at the age of 16, moving to the capital alongside Tom Taiwo in a transfer that cost the then-Premiership champions around £5 million.

He made his first appearance for the Blues as a substitute in January 2007, replacing Frank Lampard in an FA Cup clash with Macclesfield Town.

Four more first-team outings were to follow before his release in 2011, leading to brief stints in the Football League with Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers.

Woods then signed for Simon Weaver at Town, going on to play 38 times between 2013 and 2014 and scoring nine goals.

He departed Harrogate, then of the National League North, for League Two Hartlepool at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign and was a regular in their midfield during the three seasons that followed, chipping in with plenty of goals.

Woods has represented England at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level.