Southend manager Phil Brown said Jack Bridge is returning to Blues a different player to the one that left.
Bridge departed three years ago, joining Northampton Town and then Carlisle United in League Two before most recently playing for Bromley in the National League.
However, he’s returned to Roots Hall to work with Brown for a second time and the Blues boss believes the energy and versatility he brings will be vital.
"Jack is experienced from a Southend perspective, but he is also a young, impish sort of character that can run a midfield on any one given day," said Brown.
"For sure he is returning a different player. He went away and got his experience and game time under his belt. He now knows what it’s like when a manager wants him to hold down a place and make sure that when he’s in at the start of the season, I want him to be there at the end of the season.
"It’s all about the business end of the competition for me. When Jack is fully fit he will probably have more energy levels than anybody else in the National League.
"If he’s fully fit and we keep him out there then he should be running midfield and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
"He provides lots of options and the ability to change systems during the course of a game which I will working on in pre-season.
"Jack can play centre midfield, out wide in a four, wing back and the number 10. He can play in a number of positions. But it’s his ability in tight positions that I hope he will bring to the party and I’m looking forward to seeing that work.”
Bridge becomes new signing number three of the summer so far, following James Dunne and Josh Coulson to agree and sign deals with the club. John White and Shaun Hobson has also renewed their contracts.
But Brown said it’s the hard work going on behind the scenes at the club which is allowing for the additions and renewals to be completed.
"Both players [Jack and Josh Coulson] have been announced today and it’s sending a message out to the rest of the league, but also our supporters that I think we mean business,” the Blues boss added.
"We’re putting a team together that is going to compete at all levels and hopefully, because we can have a full pre-season under our belt, we can start off in a confident way.
"I’ve got to thank the Chairman for that. I’ve always wanted it and always asked him for it. It’s not always been possible.
"This time he’s allowing us to do it and it’s maybe because we’ve now got a Chief Executive and a Director of Football and hopefully all guns blazing on the recruitment front.
"As far as I’m concerned, ticking the boxes in the background is sometimes bigger and better than ticking the boxes in the foreground. And what I mean by that is the announcement of players is just the icing of the cake, the pinnacle of it.
"It’s all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes that gets you to this moment and I’m hoping this is a good day for Southend United and there’s going to be three or four more before the start of pre-season."