JACK DIAMOND claims he is already a better player than when he left Sunderland on loan at the end of August.

Diamond is currently in his second temporary spell with Harrogate Town, having rejoined the North Yorkshire club on deadline day, and the 21-year-old has been in sparkling form in League Two.

He has started all 14 of the games he has been available for, attacking down the left flank, and has claimed three goals and three assists as Harrogate have forced their way into the play-off positions.

Lee Johnson recommended a return to Wetherby Road as he felt it would be better for Diamond’s development than being on the fringe of things on Wearside, and the Gateshead-born midfielder is happy he listened to his manager’s advice.

“I think I’ve developed since I came back here,” said Diamond, in an interview with the Harrogate Advertsiser. “That’s the thing I am trying to do all the time. Maybe I might see it a bit more than other people because I’m always setting little goals for myself.

“It’s not always big goals, it’s stepping stones, just even the fact that I’ve got more goals now that I did when I was here before.

“And just because I’m playing consistent football in the Football League – I think that is so important for a player like me, of my age, when you’ve come through the academy system. This is real football, this is the real game. I definitely feel that it was a good decision to come back.”