By Olly Wood

NO stranger to Tadcaster Albion, Romario Vieira has returned to the club four years after leaving for Leeds United - and the midfielder is particularly excited about his second stint.

The 22-year-old Guinea-Bissau international graduated from the i2i Academy - who have ties with Tadcaster - while studying at York College before signing with Northern Premier League north/west division outfit Taddy in 2015.

He was at Ings Lane for a season, after which he put pen to paper at Elland Road, where twin brother Ronaldo was already playing.

When his contract with Leeds expired in 2018, Vieira - who was raised in Portugal - had trials at Doncaster Rovers, Bradford City, Notts County and Gateshead.

“I’m very happy to be back, especially where it all began,” he said of his homecoming. He has fond memories of his first time with the Brewers, where he could “just go and play and enjoy it”.

He recalls playing with Josh Barrett and Josh Greening, crediting them with helping him progress his own game. “The lads that used to play there were older and more experienced, so they pushed you to the next level - they have been in certain situations millions of times and you learn from them,” he said.

Vieira followed in the footsteps of brother Ronaldo in 2016. It was a time he enjoyed and, he says, enabled him to develop as a person and a player.

“All the basics like being on-time all the time," he said. "Working together with the team, doing my own personal stuff in the gym, and the recovery procedures after training and games - it changed me a lot, made me more disciplined, because back in the day I used to be hot-headed.

"I had to just slow things down, think things through. That was probably the best time of my life. Moving from a semi-pro type of football and environment to a professional environment is totally different so you’ve got to adapt quickly and get going.”

Unfortunately for Vieira, the last couple of years have been hampered by injuries, having had two operations in a year-and-a-half, with an ankle problem followed by a lengthy knee injury.

“I was fine with the ankle because I knew I was going to recover two or three months later but (at Gateshead) a week into training, I did my knee, and that was when everything felt like it was all against me," Vieira said.

"It is probably the toughest thing I have had to deal with and to be honest I was on the verge of depression. It was difficult, especially at night when you are just there alone - your brain starts overthinking and you have to be strong."

But with the support of his family and close friends, Vieira has been able to put a positive spin on things. “I just kept imagining myself playing again, running,” he explained.

Now on the other side of his knee injury, Vieira has returned to where it all began for him and is looking at getting back to his best.

He continued: “I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m getting there with time. I want to be versatile and play as an eight or as a four or even a 10 and just switch play quickly, keeping it on the floor, playing through the middle and finding those gaps between defenders to put forward players away.

"I basically want to enjoy it, find my happiness again, to kick on and start climbing the ladder in the leagues - if that is with Tadcaster, it would be unbelievable."