The Spanish midfielder spent a season at Newcastle in the 2017/18 campaign, where he made 25 appearances for the club.


His stay at Newcastle and England was short-lived before he returned to Spain with Real Sociedad in the summer of 2018, but Merino stressed that he loved his time with the north east giants.



The Spaniard stressed that Newcastle felt like home because of the way he was treated by the people in the city and loved playing inside a packed St. James’ Park.


Merino also insisted that he enjoyed playing in the Premier League with Newcastle and learned more about the physical aspect of the game.



The Spaniard loved the tough-tackling hard nature of the Premier League, which is a far cry from what he does in La Liga.


Merino told The Athletic: “Newcastle was amazing.



“I felt like I was home there, the people were so kind to me. I’d walk around the streets and everybody would call me.


“The stadium was always full, home and away.


“It was great to play in the Premier League, to experience the physical side of a league where you have to go strong in the tackles.


“It’s not about managing the ball and giving passes, but strength and going into battle.”


Merino initially joined Newcastle on loan from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and the Magpies sold him to Real Sociedad after signing him permanently.