Green: My toughest decision

By Simon Walter

Michael Green EASTLEIGH defender Michael Green admits leaving Port Vale was the hardest decision he has ever had to make.

The 22-year-old left-back was given his break with the League Two club after helping AFC Totton win promotion into the Southern Premier League last season.

But after making five appearances for the Valiants he has returned south because of homesickness.

So desperate was he to return to Hampshire, he took what Eastleigh manager Ian Baird has described as "a hell of a hit on the contract he had at Port Vale".

Green, pictured, who has also played for Brockenhurst and Christchurch, is now living with his family in Sway again.

He explained: "It was my first break into pro football but I missed being down south and wanted to play a bit closer to home. It was more my choice rather than Port Vale's."

Despite missing home, Green's time in the Potteries was not all bad. He benefitted from playing in front of 5,000-plus crowds at Vale Park during his four months there.

And playing under the tutelage of former Saints defender Micky Adams has improved Green's game.

"Micky Adams was a big help to me up there, being a left-back himself he was able to pick up on little things in training and during matches," he said.

"I went to America and Canada with Port Vale in pre-season and rented a flat with Ben Williamson, who was on loan at Bournemouth last season.

"But I just wanted to be closer to my family."

Green was playing four levels higher than he was used to with Totton when he started against the likes of Crawley Town, Huddersfield and Plymouth Argyle.

"It was a lot quicker and playing in front of big crowds also took a bit of getting used to but the pace and the fitness levels were the biggest difference," he said.

Green, who left Eastleigh for Totton after a brief first spell with the club two years ago, described his move to Port Vale as a "dream come true" at the time and hopes to return to the Football League one day.

"Of course I still want to get back in the Football League, I want to play at the highest level I can," said Green, who will be back at Testwood Park next Sunday to cheer on his former teammates against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup. But he has no regrets about how the last six months have panned out.

"Blue Square South is a bit more physical than I was used to with Totton last season.

"A lot of people are watching Eastleigh at the moment, we have a lot of young players, we're picking up good results and hopefully we can carry that on."

Eastleigh boss Ian Baird is delighted to have Green back at the club. He said: "Michael's got all the raw attributes to be a good footballer, but he doesn't believe in himself as much as he should.

"If he puts that right, he could still have a bright future. How high he wants to go is entirely down to him."


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