Jordan Mustoe is 27 now and it’s been four years since he last played in England but there is something about his time playing football in his homeland that he’ll never forget.
“I was with them all the way to winning it and I am proud I got to play in two of the rounds.”
Mustoe isn’t talking about winning any old trophy. He’s talking about the oldest cup competition in the world. He’s talking about the FA Cup.
The full back was part of the miracle Wigan Athletic side who lifted the famous trophy in 2013, playing in the third and fourth round wins over Bournemouth and Macclesfield Town. He now plays his football in Finland via a spell in Belgium but he still remembers his early days with the Latics fondly.
“I was really young whilst being around the first team at Wigan and it was a great experience playing with top pros and working under a great manager in Roberto Martinez.
“I have been on the bench at the Emirates, Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane and a few more top stadiums. It was some buzz! I felt like I could do anything with the ball that day if I got the chance.”
Despite spending his fair share of time amongst the first team, the full back never went on to make a league appearance at Wigan, continually heading out on loan to various Football League clubs. Although he was shipped out on loan on six different occasions, Mustoe sees it as a largely positive experience.
“The loan spells were great for me,” he says. “Going to a new team isn’t the easiest but I always fitted in nicely wherever I went.
“My loan spells were always to the teams lower down in Leagues 1 and 2 and during my first loan spell with Barnet (2012), we saved ourselves with a must win game on the last day of the season. They’re the moments you play for football for.
“I always thought League 1 was easier than League 2, there was that bit more passing and quality.”
There were also loan spells at Morecambe (twice), Carlisle, Bury and Wycombe but in 2014, the Birkenhead-born defender found himself as a free agent after his release by Wigan. It was then a race against time to find a new club but despite agreeing a short-term deal, it did not prove to be a positive experience.
“During the summer of the 2014/15 season, a few deals fell through for me so I decided not to miss the start of the season and sign a one month contract with Accrington Stanley.
“It didn’t go so well. I think we lost 5 out of 6.”
A few months then passed as Mustoe awaited for his next opportunity to arise and it was one he threw himself into, albeit one down a completely different route.
“A trial come up at Westerlo, Belgium in the top division so I jumped at the chance. Close friends and agents Scott O’Donaghue and Mark Trigg had a contact out in Belgium, an English guy called Christopher Feltham. I went on a four-day trial and took it with both hands.”
The full back made his debut for Westerlo in January 2015 and the move went on to be one of his best career decisions. He played nearly 50 games in a two-year spell with De Kemphanen.
“I really enjoyed this move,” he recalls. “It was so different and exciting. I played some of my best football there and we had some success early on but in the years that followed, there was a relegation battle.
“One season we survived on the last game of the season but the following year we got relegated on the last game of the season, so it was quite a rollercoaster!
“I lalso earned a little bit of Dutch and tried to learn French but it was too hard!”
Following relegation, Mustoe decided it was time to leave Belgium but just as the defender was looking for his next move, disaster struck.
“Last summer, I unfortunately ruptured ligaments in my ankle on a road run! So this was a bad timing but only a minor set back.”
This meant Mustoe went nearly a year without playing a competitive match after leaving Westerlo.
After returning from injury, the 27-year-old finally found his new club and it was an unexpected move.
“I honestly didn’t see myself playing in Finland during my career but you never really know what’s ahead,” he says talking about his move to top division side SJK.
Since making his debut for SJK in January, Mustoe has settled in well and has become a regular in the side which features several other Englishmen.
“Moving to Finland was not a problem with my past of different clubs and the recent Belgium move.
“It’s great to be back playing at SJK. I am enjoying it so far we have a strong team and a chance of winning the title.
“The style of football we are playing is just what I am after and love. The standard was really good in Belgium but what I have learnt in my short time here in Finland is any team can take points off anyone.
“I have made good friends with Billy Ions (SJK teammate and fellow Englishman) but his English isn’t the best never mind his Finnish!”
Mustoe is clearly open to wherever his career takes him and wherever he has gone, he has always settled in well and made a positive impact so does he know what his future holds?
“The future for me is up in the air. My contract is up this year but I am optimistic and with my experience, attitude and ambition, I know I can achieve success.”