Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone says he wants to return to Italy to help him regain his form.

The 24-year-old, signed 18 months ago from Empoli, has been a peripheral figure at the Riverside this season after a pre-season knee injury saw him lose his place in the starting line-up. He is looking to return to Empoli on loan in a bid to regain the form which earned him a call-up to the full Italian side.

“To get myself right I need to be playing and I can only do that in Italy. Empoli would be the ideal place,” Maccarone told the Gazzetta dello Sport .

“I just want to play, that is what counts. That way I will be ready to return in top condition to Middlesbrough next season.

“I need six months on the field in Italy and Empoli would be the ideal solution given that I feel at home there,” he added.