Arter: "It’s quite a surreal feeling"

Harry Arter admits it is a surreal feeling to return to Charlton.

The Addicks academy graduate rejoins the club where he made his professional debut in September 2007, having arrived on a season-long loan deal from Sky Bet Championship side Nottingham Forest on transfer deadline day.

“It’s strange, it’s funny how football pans out,” explained Arter, speaking live from the Republic of Ireland’s training camp in Portugal. “Ultimately it’s great for me to come back to the club where it all started from a young boy and see some old faces, such as [Academy Manager] Steve Avory, who have played such a big part in my football development. It will be great to come back and hopefully help the club progress and do well.

“I went down [to the training ground] on Saturday to do my medical because I knew I’d be away [on international duty]. It’s quite a surreal feeling driving back into the training ground - I haven’t been there since I was 16, 17. It’s not ideal being away for the next 10 days or week, but hopefully I’ll have some good games here and get some sharpness into my legs before I come back. I know a few of the lads and am really looking forward to coming back in.”

The 31-year-old revealed the move gathered pace following an exchange with First Team Development Coach Grant Basey, with Arter itching to secure his return to SE7 thereafter.

“It was just through Grant Basey really,” admitted the Republic of Ireland international. “I text Grant, I knew he was involved with the first team. It’s been a window where I knew I’d be moving on from [Nottingham] Forest so it’s been a particularly difficult six, seven weeks in pre-season. It was just finding the right club. 

“My family are back in Surrey and have been moving around quite a lot in the last few years. It wasn’t something that I was overly wanting to do this time round to move up north. As I say, I couldn’t pick a better club than Charlton in that. When I spoke to Grant and he said there was an option to come back... I’ve been focused on trying to get it sorted for the last five or six days now. Thankfully we’re there and I know it’s something that my family is excited for and I share that with them - I’m very excited.”

Arter now wants to draw on his wealth of experience gained at the highest level while in the top flight with AFC Bournemouth as he looks to help nurture the club’s younger players.

“I feel like now is a great time to come back,” said the midfielder. “I’ve experienced a lot in my career and now coming back to Charlton where I feel I can definitely be a help to the younger players at the club and obviously hopefully affect things on the pitch and try and get us up into the Championship - that’s the ultimate goal.”

“It’s a tough league this year,” added Arter. “When I looked at the teams in the league there’s some real big clubs in the league this year. I’ve always pictured Charlton, as I say growing up through the younger groups, it’s always been a Premier League club, a top end Championship club. It’s been a terrible time for the club over the last how many years and to find themselves in League One is obviously not where the club wants to be. The fans don’t want that."

The midfielder also spoke of his winning mentality - a trait instilled in him from the outset - and his hunger to replicate his success on the south coast with Charlton.

“I just feel like I’m someone that always gives 100 percent on the pitch," he explained. "I like to try and get on the ball and I like to be in a team that tries to pass it and ultimately win games. Ever since I was a young boy Steve Avory used to tell me off for it, in the fact that my desire to win games sometimes went overboard as a kid, but I feel like I’ve matured in that side of things and of course that desire and that fire is still there just to win games. 

“I’ve been part of a really successful Bournemouth side with great memories and to be able to create something similar at Charlton this season with a promotion would be brilliant. Fingers crossed we start winning games and we push up the table. I know the fanbase is great so they will be right behind us when we’re playing well. I think it will be a great experience for the younger players that are at the club right now to get that promotion, so a lot to look forward to and hopefully we can hit the ground running come next Saturday.”

The Addicks take on Cheltenham Town at The Valley on Saturday, September 11th. Click here to purchase your ticket.

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