Ched Evans has signed for Sheffield United, nearly five years after he was released by the club following a rape conviction.

The former Wales international’s conviction was later quashed and at a retrial last year he was found not guilty.

The striker joins the Blades from Chesterfield, where he scored seven times in 29 appearances.

I am delighted to be back, he said on the club’s website.

I still feel I have plenty to prove in football both at club and international level and I believe I can achieve those goals at United, playing in front of the terrific fans whose support I have always appreciated.

I am very grateful to Chesterfield, the board and football management for giving me an opportunity to return to the game.

It is just disappointing that it has come in a season which has seen the club suffer relegation. I would like to thank the Chesterfield fans who made me feel so welcome.

Evans spent three years at Sheffield United before he was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales in 2011.

After his release from prison in November 2014, he was offered the use of the club’s training facilities but the offer was revoked as his attempts to return to football provoked outcry.

He joined Chesterfield after his conviction was quashed.

Chesterfield director and company secretary Ashley Carson said the decision to sell Evans came after the club’s relegation to League Two.

We wish Ched all the very best for the future, he added.

(c) Sky News 2017: Ched Evans returns to Sheffield United

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