New Stags defender Craven so happy to be home

SAM Craven thoroughly enjoyed his five years is the USA – but Mansfield Town’s new left back is delighted to be back in his home county.

“It’s nice to be back home as I have family here who haven’t seen me play for five years, so it will be nice to get the chance again,” said the former Notts County defender.

“I did have the choice to sign at one or two places over there but I am 23 now and thought if I am going to do it in England I feel this is the right time to come back.

“I am really looking forward to the next six months and it’s really exciting. I am a left back but I have played at centre half too. I don’t care where I play, I just can’t wait to get stuck in whatever.

“I am not here to slip in and be part of the scenery. I am ready to go and I really want to play and work hard.

“We have a high quality of player here at Mansfield. This league is getting better quality all the time which I think is a knock-on effect of so many foreign players in the Premiership. Everyone has moved down a notch. I look at some of the players in training here at Mansfield and just wonder ‘what are you doing playing in this league’?”

Craven has just ended his first professional contract with FC New York and said: “I enjoyed my time in America.

“The season is in the summer so the heat is really intense which makes the games slower than here. But technically and tactically they are much better than people here think.

“But the fans are not as passionate as here as they have other sports like American football and baseball. So it’s nice to come back here and play in front of real fans again.”

Craven’s arrival is a reunion with old friends too as he played with Lindon Meikle and Ben Hutchinson in the County U11 boys side.

He said: “I grew up with Lindon so it’s nice being back with him. And I hadn’t seen Ben for seven years so coming back was like I’d never been away.”