Perth Glory midfielder Chris Ikonomidis said finally feeling settled is behind his blistering start to the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.
The 23-year-old signed a three-year deal at the Glory in September after a series of loan spells in Italy, Denmark and Australia - at the Western Sydney Wanderers - followed his move to Italian giants Lazio.
And the early signs have been great for Glory fans, with Ikonomidis scoring a late winner against Melbourne Victory in Round 2 before producing a man-of-the-match performance against Brisbane Roar last week.
“I’m loving life here in Perth,” he told a-league.com.au.
“I did a lot of research before coming here about the city and about the club as well and obviously about the club’s refreshed ambitions.
“I thought it would be a great choice for me and so far it is everything I planned it would be.
“There’s so many negatives about going on loan and looking for the next loan deal, especially when they’re short six-month loans because it doesn’t give much incentive for the club that you [join] to play you and to develop you.
“Whereas when you sign somewhere for a longer time, you can work with the one boss and get to know your teammates and get to know your club - it’s much better for me on a personal level and for the club that I go to.
“It does feel better knowing that I’m not going to have to pack up my bags and my luggage and go somewhere in a few months time.”
Ironically it was Ikonomidis’ loan stint at the Wanderers in the 2017/18 Season - in which he scored three goals and provided four assists in just 10 Hyundai A-League matches - that helped him decide Perth was the best fit for him.
Now Glory coach Tony Popovic left the Wanderers just before last season started to try his luck in Turkey but Ikonomidis said his impact was still being discussed after he joined on loan in January.
“Being at the Wanderers and hearing such positive things about the staff that was there previously, it was all good signs,” he said.
Perth have started the 2018/19 Season brightly, with two wins and one draw lifting them to second on the table.
And Ikonomidis believes the best is yet to come from Popovic’s side.
“There’s some fantastic players that are still coming back from injury or still haven’t had a chance to play,” he said.
“There’s [Brendon] Santalab, [Diego] Castro, Chris Harold, [Matthew] Spiranovic, so I think it’s quite scary, the depth that we have in our squad.”
Next up for the Glory is a trip to Coopers Stadium to face the in-form Adelaide United on Sunday.
And while Ikonomidis acknowledges Craig Goodwin - called up to the Caltex Socceroos set-up on Thursday - is in outstanding form, he believes the Glory will continue to “surprise” with their away performances.
“Our mentality this year is to aim to not change our approach whether we’re playing home or away, to go out and dominate the game, regardless of fans and referees and pitches,” he said.
“We want to go out there and play our game as if we’re at home in front of our fans.
“I think we caught Victory by surprise [in Round 2] and I think we’ll catch some more teams by surprise this year on the road.”