Former England international says he could not have started at a better club than Nottingham Forest

Forest City Ground

Michael Dawson spent eight years at Forest before moving to Tottenham Hotspur as a 21-year-old in 2005.

Former Nottingham Forest defender Michael Dawson has told the club's website that he could not have begun hid career at a better club than the East Midlands side.

Dawson joined the Forest academy at the age of 14 and made his senior breakthrough at the City Ground whilst still a teenager, and played 91 times for the club before leaving for Tottenham Hotspur in January 2005.

At White Hart Lane, the centre-back flourished despite occasional injury problems, playing well over 300 times for the club whom he captained from 2010, winning the League Cup and helping them qualify for a first ever season in the Champions League.

Now at Hull City in the Championship, the 32-year-old, who was capped four times by England whilst at Spurs, has not forgotten his roots at Forest and hailed the club as the perfect breeding ground for young talent.

Dawson told the Forest website: "I couldn’t have dreamed of being at a better football club to learn. I left home at 16 and went on to play at the City Ground for two or three years, which was something I’d always dreamed of when I was a youngster standing on the terraces, watching the likes of Bryan Roy, Stan Collymore and Stuart Pearce.

"It was a great time and I’m thankful the club gave me the opportunity to go and play in the Premier League for such a long time. It’s a club I’ve always been fond of and I’ll always have great memories of."

Dawson was a hugely popular figure in his time at Forest, where he initially formed a partnership with veteran defender Des Walker which helped the club reach the second-tier play-offs in 2003.

However, he suffered injury problems in his final season at the club and was unable to help prevent them slipping into the third tier before leaving for Spurs.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch