MIDDLESBROUGH have confirmed the return of Chelsea centre-half Kenneth Omeruo on a season-long loan.

Omeruo made 14 appearances last season after moving to the Riverside in January, and has agreed to return to Teesside for a second spell despite competing interest from elsewhere.

The 20-year-old had a successful World Cup tournament with Nigeria, and Hull City were one of a number of top-flight clubs linked with his services.

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However, Aitor Karanka pushed hard to retain Omeruo's services, and his relationship with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has helped Boro re-sign a player who was regarded as one of the best defenders in the Championship last season.

Karanka said: "He is a very important player to us. He’s someone I love to have with us because he’s a player who came here from Chelsea and his mood was always perfect.

“He was always happy and fighting for his position. He was handed the opportunity to play in the World Cup and he is now coming back to us a better player.”