Departing Torquay United striker Jamie Reid says his ambition to return to the Football League (EFL) fired his decision to turn down a new contract with the Gulls after the best two seasons of his Plainmoor career.

The Torquay-born former Exeter City forward says it was ‘such a difficult decision’, but he stressed: “You don’t want to look back on your career with regrets.

“I know when there’s a good situation coming. My ambition is to test myself at the highest level possible - that’s my aim.”

Several EFL clubs were watching Reid, 25, towards the end of the curtailed 2019-2020 campaign.

He leaves after making 176 appearances in three spells and scoring 63 goals, 53 of them over the last two seasons.

He currently holds the National League South and United Player Of The Year awards.

“Torquay is my home, I have always supported the club and I was a junior season-ticket holder on the Pop Side,” he recalled in an exclusive interview with the Torbay Weekly.

“I was the kid asking the players for their autographs. Fast-forward 20 years, and I was that player - that was a great feeling.

“To have played the best part of 200 games for your hometown club - you can’t ask for much more than that.

“I have the staff at the club, the ones here now and before, to thank for that. I’ll always be grateful to them and, of course, the fans as well.

“For a long time it wasn’t easy, but those sort of times make you grow up. I wouldn’t have had the journey any other way, because hopefully everything has made me a better person and a better player.

“As a striker, my target is always 20 goals for the season - I had already got over that with ten games still to go - and I was also top of the ‘assists’ list, which is very important to me.”

Reid added: “You don’t want to leave too soon or overstay your time at any club.

“These are obviously difficult times for everybody and, to fit in with the ‘furlough’, all the players had to let the club know their decisions in quite a short time.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t have done that or committed myself to anything right now.

“Wherever I go, Torquay will always be the first result I look for and I may be back one day - you never know in football.”