Colchester United have handed a two-year deal to defender Tom Aldred following his release by Watford.
The 20-year-old, who never made a Hornets appearance, had a loan spell at Inverness terminated last week.
He left just four games into what was supposed to be a six-month loan stint in Scotland.
"There was talk of me coming here a year ago, I know the manager from Carlisle, I didn't want to turn it down a second time," he told BBC Essex.
"When you're young it takes a bit of time to find the club you will settle at and I think this is the club I will settle at now.
"I've been at clubs, spent time here and there, and it's diffcult to settle in, but I'm here for two years and looking forward to it."
"We have got ourselves a hard working young man who will be ready for first team action," boss John Ward told the club website.
"Tom has travelled around a lot so far and has shown a real willingness to play and he is a young man determined to get going here at Colchester United."
Aldred joined Watford last summer after making six appearances for Carlisle, and soon joined Stockport on loan, where he played seven games.