Jake Vokins says the switch from Southampton to Scotland is one to relish and he aims to kick on with Ross County this season.
The 21-year-old left-back had an impressive debut in the 1-0 Premier Sports Cup win at Brora Rangers on Wednesday as his corner was buried by the head of Alex Iacovitti for the killer goal.
He also linked up well with Blair Spittal and made a telling contribution in a delayed debut after the Scottish Premiership club came through a Covid crisis in the football department to finally get their season going.
Positive vibes convinced Vokins Dingwall switch was right
His Southampton team-mate, Scotland star Stuart Armstrong, was one of several people Vokins spoke to when the move north was on the cards and the ex-England youth international had no qualms about the distance involved.
The former Sunderland loanee explained: “It is not as cold as I thought it would be, that’s for sure!
“It is a big change for me, but coming up here on my own, everyone has helped me settle in really quickly.
“I’m used to travelling and settling into different places. For me, it is normal – I just want to play football and do what I do.
“I spoke to a few players, Stuart Armstrong included, and they said it was a good league to come to, get games and experience first team football on a regular basis.
“I know it is a very high-quality league, with big teams in it and it will help my professionalism as a player, but I really want to play my part and help the team as well.
“Stuart spent part of his youth in Inverness and told me it was a really nice area to live as well, with nice people.
“I’m just happy to get started – and happy with the win on Wednesday night.”
Vokins enjoyed a winning debut display
Vokins was satisfied to get more than an hour under his belt in his first Staggies’ run-out.
He said: “I felt good. I was itching to start and get playing.
“There was a little bit of a delay in coming here, but finally getting out on the pitch was a very good experience for me.
“Ross County provides a great environment and coming here, getting game time, learning off experienced players, playing first team football week-in, week-out is what I’ve come here for.
“I want to play as many games as possible and help the team achieve its aims.”
With County’s squad isolating for 10 days this month due to the virus impacting deeply, Vokins feels the players will soon be up to speed.
He said: “The Covid situation was really frustrating for everyone concerned and we were all just itching to get out there and play some football.
“Obviously it is vital to getting fitness levels back up to where they should be, ready for the whole season, really.
“There’s definitely some good talent in the squad and hopefully we can go far this season and do really well.”
After forfeiting games against Forfar Athletic then Dundee, the Dingwall side cannot progress due to the 3-0 defeats handed out by the SPFL as per the competition rules in the Premier Sports Cup.
Premiership tests are ideal for loanee
On Saturday, they round off their group campaign with a home tie against League One Montrose, then seven days later kick off in the Premiership against double cup-winners St Johnstone.
The chance to face top opponents every week was a big draw for Vokins.
He stressed: “The Scottish Premiership, itself, is one of the reasons I came – the quality and nature of the league is definitely going to challenge me as a player.
“I just want to add my qualities to this team and hopefully we can progress really far this year.”