Defender George Elokobi says he has come "whole circle" after re-signing for League One side Colchester United.
The 29-year-old left the U's seven years ago for Wolves, for whom he played 58 times in the Premier League.
"I've achieved more than what I wanted to achieve in football," he said.
"When I joined Colchester from a non-league club it was an opportunity to play professional football - I'm grateful for those who put in the hard work to me."
He told BBC Essex: "It's a credit to the people who have helped me establish myself as a professional footballer."
Cameroon-born Elokobi was spotted by Colchester while playing for non-league side Dulwich Hamlet, before going on to make 103 appearances for Wolves.
He joined League One side Oldham after his release, and played 27 times before moving back to Essex.
Elokobi joins a side focusing on bringing youth into their first team, and he has paid tribute to the club for this philosophy.
"In football, once you're on that pitch you improve every game and learn from your mistakes.
"You can see in pre-season most of the youngsters are working extremely hard, and it's testament to them and the gaffer to make sure these youngsters are in the right way and not just chucked into the firing line when they aren't ready.
"You see time and again youngsters come on to the scene when they aren't ready, but you can tell with these youngsters they've had games under their belts and it's fantastic in modern-day football to see youngsters get the gametime they need on a professional pitch.
"The Under-21s or reserve games don't give you a true experience of being on a Saturday playing in front of thousands of fans."