Despite being on the other side of the world, Seanan Clucas admits a trip Down Under helped him realise his true love for football.
After coming through the ranks at his native Dungannon, the former Northern Ireland youth international would sign professional terms with Preston North End.
However, after being released by the Lancashire club, Clucas acknowledged that he failed to make the most of his short spells at Linfield and Derry City for a variety of reasons.
“I played for Northern Ireland under-17's against the Victory Shield squad which attracted a high number of scouts,” he said.
“I had interest from Derby, Everton, Fulham and Preston and I went on trial at all those clubs bar Everton.
“I did well at Preston and they offered me a youth scholarship and I made the move over at 16.
“Thankfully, there were plenty of guys from Northern Ireland over there such as Conor McLaughlin and Jamie Douglas, so it was a home away from home so to speak.
“I had a good three years there, was offered a professional contract and made my debut, but unfortunately, Phil Brown was sacked and the new manager got rid of a lot of players.
“In March 2012, I signed for Burton Albion on loan but I didn’t overly enjoy it as I was living out of a suitcase and I was feeling homesick as I was on my own.
“After being released by Preston, I was grateful to earn a deal at Bristol Rovers in League Two and was playing regularly until I suffered a cruciate ligament injury.
“I was told seven months after I recovered that Stoke were interested in signing me before the injury but that’s football. Unfortunately, the club got relegated into the Conference and they signed two players in my position, so I knew they wouldn’t have been able to offer me a new deal.
“Warren Feeney signed me at Linfield in the summer of 2014 and we struggled as a team, I was in and out of the picture and things happened that I didn’t overly agree with.
“I didn’t have a great relationship with the manager and looking back I was becoming a bit bitter and wasn’t overly professional at that time. In truth, I shouldn’t have gone about it the wrong way but I’ve learned and I did give my all to the club for the first four months.
“In the January transfer window, I had interest from Derry City and I jumped at the chance but my head wasn’t in football as I felt like a bit of a failure as I went from being a professional footballer to working every day.
“I thought I could come into the league and stroll it but there’s less time on the ball and it was only a short-term deal.
Clucas would spend eleven months in Australia starting in 2015, but a phone call from the-then Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree helped him from going down “a slippery slope”.
A special bond was created during his time at Stangmore Park as the Swifts lifted the League Cup in 2018.
“I went to Australia in 2015 and partied, travelled and met some great people,” he continued.
“However, I was probably going down a slippery slope and my dad always wanted me to play football.
“Rodney phoned me and the club paid for my flights home and I had a belly on me!
“A few of my mates were at the club like Chris Hegarty and Paul McElroy and the move was perfect timing.
“Winning the League Cup is arguably my best ever achievement alongside making my debut in England.
“It is fair to say that Dungannon doesn’t have the biggest budget or fan base but we continually punched above our weight and we had a tight knit group which was needed.
“We all still talk about that success and we are all still close friends despite playing for other clubs.”
The 29-year-old would swap County Tyrone for East Belfast as he signed for Glentoran in January 2020.
Clucas insists the main reason for leaving his hometown club was to lift more silverware in the years ahead.
“I felt like I owed Dungannon the rest of the 2019/20 season but Glentoran were pushing for the league and I didn’t want to miss out on that chance,” he added.
“I just felt it was the right time to move on as I’m not getting any younger and I want to add to my medal haul.
“I haven’t managed to get my hands on a trophy during my time at the club so far but I believe that we are well equipped to do so.
“Despite the club being full-time, I’m different as I’m still working although I still go in for training three or four times a week.
“I have the perfect balance between football and family life.”