Stephen McLaughlin says he is living the dream after completing his switch from Derry City to Nottingham Forest.
The 22 year-old winger has signed a three-and-a-half year contract after ‘The Reds’ agreed an undisclosed fee with Derry City.
McLaughlin caught the eye of Forest’s scouts with a string of impressive performances in the League of Ireland and had a week’s trial with the club last month.
“Things are just going better and better each week for me,” he told his new club’s official website. I came here on trial after I won the FAI Cup with Derry City.
“I was called back, completed my fitness test and medical, went home for Christmas and now I’m back again to sign.
“I’m not used to how professionally things are run here - this is my first major club. No disrespect to Derry, but this is a massive club and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
“I heard that Alan Hill [scout] was coming over to have a look at me and I was excited, but there were a heap of scouts watching me throughout the season so I just played my normal game. Thankfully, he liked what he saw and brought me over.
“I’m a natural left winger. I do a lot of defending as well as attacking and have this year brought goals to my game - I scored 18 goals last season and created a lot, too. Hopefully, I can do the same here.
“I’m 22. Playing in the development squad will be very important. It’ll allow me to get my bearings and to get a feel of how the game is played over here. Hopefully, from there, I’ll be called upon for the first team.”
And McLaughlin has revealed he is taking inspiration from Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid as he prepares to launch his Forest career.
He adds: “I remember watching him on television when I was younger. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps. He’s a good guy - I’ve spoken to him a few times and he wished me all the best.”
Forest Chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi said of the club’s new acquisition: “Stephen is an exciting young talent who been attracting attention from a number of other English clubs.
“We are delighted he is joining us and look forward to helping him develop his career and fulfilling his great potential.”
As well as Andy Reid, Simon Cox and Killarney defender Brendan Maloney are on Forest’s books while there are also a number of Irish players in the development squad.
McLaughlin follows in the footsteps of the likes of James McClean, Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn in moving across the water from Derry in recent years.