Ryan Hall claimed the troubles of his playing career were far behind him after completing a transfer to Leeds United.
The 24-year-old winger sealed his move from Southend United yesterday and vowed to “keep myself clean” during his time at Elland Road.
Hall has joined Leeds on loan until January with a view to a permanent deal when the FIFA transfer window opens at the turn of the year.
He is expected to be named among United’s substitutes for tonight’s Championship game at Sheffield Wednesday.
His transfer to Elland Road has re-united him with Leeds manager Neil Warnock, the coach who gave him his professional debut at Crystal Palace in 2007 but subsequently released Hall due to repeated off-field problems.
The talented midfielder joined Southend in 2010 after a spell in non-league but was convicted of affray in 2011. He remained at Roots Hall and went on to feature impressively for Southend last season, scoring 14 times as the club reached the League Two play-offs.
Asked if there were aspects of his character he still needed to change, Hall said: “I’d say I’ve changed already. I just want the chance to show everyone that this is me.
“I’ve been given a second opportunity by the gaffer here and I want to grab it with both hands. I had him at Crystal Palace and he was a great manager but I got myself into a bit of trouble. He had to let go of me.
“At the time he said ‘get your head and down and do what you do best.’ Now he’s come back for me. It’s a great step and a massive chance and I want to get on and show what I can do.
“The manager’s told me to make sure I keep myself clean and do everything he knows I can do. I’m getting on now and it’s time I settled down.”
Hall was courted by Blackpool last month but a proposed move to Bloomfield Road fell through after the two sides failed to agree personal terms.
A fall-out with Southend manager Paul Sturrock and chairman Ron Martin forced Hall to train on his own in Birmingham, and he has not played in a competitive match since August.
Hall said: “I started the first two games of the season but I had a bit of a fall-out with the manager.
“He wasn’t letting me go anywhere, or the chairman. But I wanted to play as high as I could.
“Neil Warnock’s played me before in the Championship so I know I can play at this level. I’ve just got to prove it here.”
Warnock spent several weeks pursuing Hall having expressed concern about a shortage of attacking players in the squad at Elland Road.
The United boss was frank in his assessment of Hall’s spell at Palace but said: “He’s away from London and that’s vital.
“He can concentrate on football and he seems like a different lad.
“I couldn’t keep giving him another chance at Palace and it seemed to be happening every month. But you have to manage a club like Palace to realise what these lads put up with.
“It’s not an easy life. A lot of their mates are unemployed and that brings temptations.
“When you have a footballer as a mate you cling on to them and sometimes that drags you into situations you shouldn’t be in. That was Ryan’s situation. But he’s shown me that he’s ready to knuckle down.”
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