ADAM JOHNSON today thanked the Boro fans for their support over the years and says he hopes they understand why he left.

The former England U21 winger, who completed a move to Manchester City for an undisclosed fee shortly before Monday's transfer deadline, says he will never forget his time on Teesside.

"I hope the fans understand why I made this choice, I don't think they'd begrudge me this chance," he said. "I would like to thank them for all the support over the years, they have been fantastic with me and I hope we leave on good terms."

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Johnson admits it will take a while for the events of the last few days to settle into reality for him, adding that it was a close run thing whether he signed or not.

"I went in to training with Boro on Monday and spoke with Gordon Strachan. He told me to go home and leave it with him. He rang 40 minutes later to say I could go and talk. I spent all afternoon taking medicals and eventually signed at ten to five.

"It still hasn't sunk it yet that I'm not going to Rockliffe any more, I've been going there virtually every day since I was 16."

His association with the club goes back further and he'll be forever grateful to the people who have helped him on the way.

"I first went to Boro when I was 12. I have a lot of friends at the club, a lot of people who have helped me. The majority of my progress was down to Ron Bone and Dave Parnaby who have nurtured me over the years. They taught me right and wrong and I can't thank them enough.

"I have a lot good memories at the club, it will be tough, but it's what I have to do. It was a big decision to leave, but football-wise it was the right decision.

"This has been the best season I've had as a Middlesbrough player, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. The richest club in the world and one which is going places wanted me.

"I think success is just around the corner for Boro, I really hope it is. There's nothing more I would like than to be at the play-off finals in May watching Boro go up - and it would be even better if it was before that, of course!"

Johnson's final words are reserved for Gordon Strachan.

"He has been great with me, first class from day one. I'm going to keep in touch with him as I think he can still help my career even though he's not my manager any more. He's been through what I'm going through."

Click here for a free audio interview with Adam.