SAMMIE Szmodics admits leaving Colchester United has been an ‘emotional’ experience.

But after completing a move to Championship side Bristol City, the 23-year-old attacker has not ruled out returning to the U’s at some point in the future.

Colchester-born Szmodics ended his 16-year association with his home town club after joining the Robins on a three-year deal.

The U’s have received an undisclosed compensation fee for the former Stanway School pupil, as he is under the age of 24.

Szmodics, speaking exclusively to the Gazette, said: “Colchester United will always be in my heart.

"I don’t think the fact that I'd left really kicked in until then and the drive back home to Essex on Friday.

“I came home no longer being a Colchester player and it was a strange feeling.

“I got a bit emotional, knowing that I’d left a place I’d spent the last 16 years.

“I can’t thank the staff, players, club and my family enough.

“It’s been the making of me and made me the player I am.

“If I hadn’t been picked up by Adrian Webster back when I was six and told to go to a trial, I’d have been a Colchester fan and not a player.

“I’ll always be a Colchester fan and I’d like to think that one day I can go back there, a bit like Doogie (Karl Duguid) did and be a legend there.

“People say I’m already a legend there but for me, I’m just a boy who has had the privilege of playing for his home town club.

“It’s great to join a great club like Bristol City – it’s something I’ve dreamed about and it’s a real pinch yourself moment.

“But it's emotional leaving Colchester where I’ve been for so long and leaving home and the fans.

"But football is a short career.

“I’m sure that whenever there’s an international break or a postponement, I’ll be back at the JobServe Community Stadium watching from the stands.

“I’ve had so many messages on Twitter and Instagram from Colchester fans wishing me well.

“I’m so grateful for that and I haven’t replied to many, simply because there are so many of them but I’m very grateful.

“It was a very hard decision to leave Colchester.

“But it’s a short career and you have to test yourself.”