• Forward keen to impress after failing at Spurs
• Boateng: 'We're not here just to see the sights'
Kevin-Prince Boateng has admitted inexperience and a love of London's vibrant nightlife rather undermined his attempts to make the grade at Tottenham Hotspur earlier in his career, with the Schalke midfielder relishing an opportunity to make amends as he returns to the capital for Wednesday's Champions League game against Chelsea.
Boateng, now 26, had joined Spurs from Hertha Berlin in 2007 but would make only 14 Premier League appearances for the club. The forward fell out of favour under Juande Ramos and spent time training with the reserves.
While his star briefly rose under Harry Redknapp, he was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund and was eventually allowed to move on a permanent deal to Portsmouth, who duly reached the FA Cup final but slipped out of the Premier League.
His career since has taken him to Milan and, last summer, earned the Ghana international a £12m move back to the country of his birth with Schalke, though Boateng admitted some regret that Tottenham rarely saw the best of his qualities during that ill-fated spell in England.
"I think everybody knows that I had a difficult time in England when I arrived here," he said. "I was young, I had all the money, you come here at 20 years [of age] and have to play with Tottenham … it was not easy for me. I was choosing the wrong way in that situation because I was not experienced enough.
"Then at Portsmouth I showed what I could do, the kind of football I am capable of. I think a lot of people appreciated it. Now I'm just happy to be back. I love the city of London, I see a couple of friends, and it's always nice to play in England. I love the football culture here. It's the kind of football I love to play: even being at Stamford Bridge is amazing.
"London is so multicultural, with so many people from different countries. You can enjoy the life here. Even a good friend of mine, Didier Drogba, can walk the streets freely here. People don't come up to him and say: 'Oh my God, it's Didier Drogba.' They leave you in peace a little bit. So many clubs, teams and players … it was relaxing to be here. You have good food, a good night life. Everything is very good here."
Schalke were beaten 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen a fortnight ago with Boateng, who had recently returned from injury, forced to play in an unfamiliar position as a lone forward. He is expected to revert to his more familiar midfield role on Wednesday as the Germans seek reward to bolster their chances of progressing from a tight section.
"We're not here just to see the sights," added Boateng. "We'll do our best and we'll have to see how it goes. We saw the strength of Chelsea in Germany, but we're a little bit more experienced now and we know a little bit more about the team. It's going to definitely be a different game.
"But it's good to be back here. There were links to Premier League clubs in the summer [when he left Milan], though you would have to ask my agent. He spoke to the teams for sure. But I chose Schalke for a couple of reasons: I wanted to go back home, to be close to my little boy, and it's a great club.
"There's a big future in this club with so many young players. Those were the reasons I chose to go to Schalke. We're very motivated for this fixture. Hopefully we'll be the team who hurts them on the counter-attack this time."