Young Australian midfielder Mitchell Whalley swapped the NPL for European football two years ago and has not looked back.
Whalley departed Blacktown City at the age of 18 in 2017 to join fourth tier Greek club Panserraikos FC.
After a season with the Lions he signed with top flight Greek side AEL at the start of 2019.
Now 20, the winger is out to break into the Greek Super League and is loving his time at one of the country’s biggest clubs.
"It’s a good club, it’s professional, the quality is good,” he told FTBL. "The team is performing really well, we’re fighting for a Europa spot in the league. It’s going very well.
"Greek football is very stong, it’s like every man for themselves. Everyone wants to win, no one’s going to give it to you so easily, it’s very aggressive.
"We still play good football of course, but I would definitely say the playing style is very aggressive. I’ve learned a lot.
"You’ve got to certainly adapt to what’s going on, you can’t just go through the motions and go to training without purpose, because once you do that you lose the development.
"I want to make the most of every single day.”
After playing for the Under-19s last season, Whalley is after a loan move in January to accelerate his breakthrough into senior football.
"I was looking to find a spot in the first-team but the team has been performing extremely well so they’re looking for the older, experienced players,” he explained.
"The plan might be to go on loan in the winter transfer period and look for some game-time there.
"I’m quite on my own – I’m young, I’m from Australia, there’s not too many Australians here in the Greek league but all the players have been really supportive.
"It’s really helped me to play better and develop me as a player. I feel at home here, I’m really enjoying football here.”