Adapting to a new country, a new way of life and new surroundings is by no means an easy feat and Simon Sluga reveals that he too felt that upon arrival in England.
Rewind to July 2019 and Luton Town had just broken their transfer record to sign the Croatian goalkeeper and with that brought an element of pressure, pressure that at first was tricky to deal with.
The now 28-year-old said: “For everyone, every person is different. To be honest I can’t say now what was bothering me, why it was hard to settle, why I was not at my best and why I was making mistakes. I don’t know because if I knew at the time, I wouldn’t have done it.
“It is obvious I am not a person that likes to tell stories about why something happened, good or bad. I can just say at the moment, at that time, I wasn’t good enough and that is the truth and for me the whole story. I wasn’t good enough at the time for many, many reasons."
The season, as most Luton fans will recollect, ended with a dramatic final-day escape as the Hatters beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 to remain in the Sky Bet Championship. For players and management alike, there was an ambition to improve this season to avoid such a situation again.
To that end, the form of the Town has been incredible throughout the 2020/21 campaign, as with one game remaining, they have secured a top-half finish.
"In comparison with the past season it is progress, of course it is,” Sluga admitted. “We are in a much better position, we didn’t struggle at any point of the season and we weren’t afraid of being in the relegation battle. We had a lot of good games, more good games than bad.
“It is a tough, tough league the Championship. Tough opponents so all the credit to the staff and to the players, to the club, to everyone. I’m very happy with it, like I said we had good games, better performances and at the end to be in the top half, we can all be happy with ourselves.”
When asked if one specific game was a highlight, the answer was somewhat unsurprising! Of his 13 clean sheets in all competitions, one came against rivals Watford in a stunning 1-0 victory at Kenilworth Road.
“It was amazing,” the Croatian keeper said. “I think even the gaffer said exactly what I was thinking in the moment. Maybe it wasn’t our best game in terms of beauty of football, or that we had the ball all the time, but they didn’t make three passes in a row at any moment of the game.
“We went from the first second to the last second and they didn’t have one shot on target, I didn’t have anything to do apart from kicking balls and catching crosses! They scored at the end but it was offside so that was it.
"I think with the crowd, take that game exactly how it was and I think the stadium would have collapsed! The gaffer and Mick, all the staff came in and everyone knew the importance of that game so we were aware of what we can achieve with the victory so sentimentality, it was the biggest game for sure.”
Looking ahead to next season, Sluga is keen to improve and help the team as much as possible: “At the moment, my goals are to have a good health, me, my family and everyone at the club during these crazy times. I would like to make something nice with the club, to improve even more.
"I don’t think about goals, my goals are that every day and every game, I try to improve to be better. At the moment it is just to improve with Luton Town and to be in a better position than we are going to end this year.”