Jack Collison went back to his roots as the club he represented as a boy started work on their new home this week.

The West Ham United midfielder was the special guest as he saw work getting started on the new £1.3 million ground for Shefford Saints Youth FC in the Bedfordshire town of Shefford.

Collison joined representatives from Warden Developments and the Football Foundation as work began on the 11-acre site on Tuesday.

"It was great to come back here and see this work being done, which I know will mean lots of facilities being available for more youngsters and the club as a whole," said the No10, who donned a hard hat and hi-visibility jacket for his visit before hopping on to a digger for a photocall.

"The club still means a lot to me, I played here as child and my family are still local. I had a great time playing here and so it is important that these clubs are given the support in this way to try and improve and be able to offer the chance for youngsters to play."

Collison won the Shefford Saints Player of the Year award as an Under-9 and the club now has a special award named in his honour that is presented annually to a player with the greatest potential.

Jack Collison

Jack Collison returned to Shefford Saints Youth FC this week

"It is a great place and I am sure many youngsters will get a lot from being here," smiled the Wales international.

The ground will also be used by Bedfordshire County League side Shefford Town and Campton and representatives from both clubs joined Collison at the ground-breaking ceremony.

When complete, the clubs will have use of a full-size pitch, four mini-pitches and a pavilion clubhouse.

Shefford Saints chairman Graham Earl added: "This is an incredibly exciting new phase in the club's evolution.We are delighted the ground works are now starting and that the process of creating a major new outstanding home ground and training facility should be complete by the start of 2013."

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