GASTON Ramirez has returned to the Middlesbrough fold in Spain as he attempts to rebuild his reputation on Teesside.

The 26-year-old former Saints record signing handed in a transfer request last month with champions Leicester attempting to lure him away from the Riverside Stadium.

However, Boro swiftly rejected the Foxes’ overtures and insisted the Uruguyan midfielder, who has missed the last six games with a knee injury, was not for sale.

Head coach Aitor Karanka insisted as the saga unfolded that Ramirez would not be leaving and would eventually be assimilated back into the squad.

That process began in earnest this week when the Spaniard and his players, including the South American, headed off on a four-day warm-weather training break on the Costa Blanca.

Karanka said at the time: “He is and he will be an important player in this team and he knows that.”

Ramirez, who was given a few days off last week to clear his head, has not made a senior appearance since the 0-0 Premier League draw with Leicester on January 2 and Boro have taken just two points from a possible 12 in his absence to slip to within a point of the relegation zone.

Karanka has been delighted with the player’s contribution since his permanent capture during the summer following a successful loan spell and is confident he can make an impact once again as he attempts to steer the club away from trouble.