ALEX Grove reckons Warriors have stolen a march in the transfer market by luring back familiar face Graham Kitchener.

The 29-year-old lock, a product of Worcester’s academy, will return from Leicester Tigers ahead of next season eight years after making the reverse switch.

Having established himself as a regular at Welford Road, Kitchener has reached a Premiership final and won the Anglo-Welsh Cup as well as representing England Saxons.

But even with that pedigree former Worcester team-mate Grove argues his Sixways roots will be equally influential.

“I think it is a good signing for Worcester, getting someone back who played there for a few years,” said Grove.

“In an environment where there are a lot of players moving around in every off-season it is good to be signing people who already have an association with the club, whether that be retaining players or bringing them back.

“Graham spent his crucial development years there and clearly cares about Worcester. When you have that in a squad it bodes really well.

“Kitch was clearly more developed physically than his peers and broke into the first team when he was quite young.

“He was fast-tracked into the senior set-up on merit. There were not many 17 or 18-year-olds in the squad at that time and he was fairly quiet, he just got his head down and had the right attitude which is exactly what you want from a young player.

“There are a few similarities to Ted Hill who was 16 in my last year at Worcester. When Ted came into the changing room you thought ‘Who is this monster and how is he only 16?’

“It is nice to see those players have the right attitude and work hard without getting carried away by being ahead of their years.

“I would liken Kitch to that from memory. He let his rugby do the talking.”

Kitchener, who joins younger brother and fellow lock Andrew at Worcester, received senior international call-ups following his move to Leicester without gaining a cap.

Grove believes his former colleague has been the victim of the wealth of talent in his position but insists "time is still on his side".

“When he moved to Leicester he was on the fringes and played a bit for Saxons,” added Grove who has retired from professional rugby.

“Time is still on his side but he needs to be playing well and injury-free because it is an area where England have such competition. All Kitch can do is play regularly and well in the top flight.

“He has probably been unfortunate with the level of competition from an England point of view.

“He has played a lot of rugby at Leicester but when you look at the likes of Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury and George Kruis, England are very well stocked in that department.”