WIDNES Vikings have signed former England scrum-half Matty Smith on a one-year deal.

The 32-year-old, who previously played for the club on loan from St Helens in 2008, adds a wealth of experience to Tim Sheens’ squad, having made over 200 appearances in Super League to date and lifting four major trophies.

He was on Catalans Dragons' books last season, but finished the campaign on loan at Warrington Wolves.

“I’m excited to have signed for Widnes Vikings ahead of the the 2020 season, and I can’t wait to get started," said Smith.

“It’s great to finally get a club sorted, and as soon as I spoke to Tim (Sheens) I wanted to sign here.

“It is an exciting squad and the way Tim wants the team to play really suits me, and hopefully that can bring out the best in me.

“Widnes is a big club, and although they’re currently in the Championship I think the goal around the town and the club with the appointment of Tim is to eventually get back into Super League, and hopefully I can be a part of that.

“Throughout my career I feel like I have always had a point to prove, and no matter where you play you always have a few doubters.

"I want to get back to enjoying my rugby again, and I think the way Tim wants to play will benefit me which will hopefully show in my performances on the pitch.”

Smith spent the 2008 Championship season with the Vikings on-loan from parent club St Helens, going on to feature nine times during his short spell at the Halton Stadium, scoring three tries.

A loan move to Celtic Crusaders followed, before a successful 2010 season with Salford Red Devils led to Smith securing a permanent deal with the Greater Manchester outfit.

After 76 appearances for Salford, Smith moved on to Wigan Warriors where he enjoyed the most successful period of his career.

In 2013, he played a pivotal role in helping the club claim the double, leading his side to a Challenge Cup triumph with his Lance Todd Trophy winning performance, before lifting the Super League trophy later that year.

In his final year with the Warriors he also helped the club to another Grand Final win in 2016, landing two goals in their 12-6 victory over Warrington Wolves.

Smith returned to St Helens for the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, picking up the League Leaders’ Shield in his final season with the club.

He made 21 Super League appearances last season with Catalans and then The Wire.

“I have been here before but I was a lot younger back then," said Smith.

"At that point in my career I just wanted to play regular rugby league and that wasn’t happening at St Helens.

"Widnes gave me a chance to do that and I was really grateful at the time, coming over with the likes of Chris Dean and Steve Tyrer.

“I really enjoyed the three months I spent here at the back end of the 2008 season, now it feels like it’s come around full circle and now I have a chance to finish my career with Widnes."

Vikings Quids In, the fans' group that helps to raise funds for the Vikings cause, played a role in Smith signing for Vikings.

Jason Shaw, chairman of VIQI, said: “Matty is another fantastic signing for our club and I am pleased once again to confirm that Vikings Quids In members played a critical part in his signing.

“Our members continue to support the club in the acquisition of players that we may otherwise not have been able to recruit, and it is this level of continued support that will help drive our club forward.

“The VIQI membership numbers need to remain healthy for us to continue to provide as much support as we can to our club.

"We are very keen to not only maintain the current level of membership but push on and drive further increases in membership level.

“I’m sure you will agree together we can do great things, if you are not currently in VIQI then I would urge you to consider signing up to help us sign more players of the calibre of Matty Smith, Logan Tomkins, Sam Wilde, Danny Craven, Jack Owens, to name a few.”