It may have only been a couple of months that Steven Johnson Fikula got to spend in Norway but he still recalls it as a positive experience.
The defender started his career with Mansfield Town and was part of the under-18 side which won a third successive EFL Youth Alliance North-east Division title in the 2017/18 season.
The following year, Fikula joined Oxford United after impressing in the LFE Assessment trials, an event which showcases some of the best released scholars.
During his time with Us, he had a spell out on loan at Aylesbury Vale Dynamos in the eight-tier on English football, making eight appearances in all competitions. In February 2019, Fikula decided to leave Oxford by mutual consent which led to him joining Norwegian third-tier side Mjølner. The club are based in the north of the country, on the border of the Arctic Circle.
Joining in August 2019, the defender was brought in to try help his new side beat the drop and was thrusted into a relegation battle.
The former Mansfield man went on to make six appearances as his side missed out on safety by just four points.
I caught up with Steven to hear more about his time in Norway.
English Players Abroad: How did the move to Norway come about? Had you always wanted to play abroad?
Steven Johnson Fikula: My friend put me in contact with his agency who pretty much specialised in sending players over to the Scandinavia region. So I got in contact with them and within a matter of days we had Interest from a club. Three to four days from that I was on the plane to Norway.
EPA: What did you think of living in Norway, did you settle in well?
SJK: Living in Norway was a very good experience, seeing the cultural difference from there and UK, having to adapt to their way of life. Having lived on my own since I was 16 I was pretty used to being on my own, so in terms of settling in it wasn’t that difficult for me.
EPA: What was the standard of football like in the third-tier of Norwegian football? How did it compare to what you were used to?
SJK: The standard of football varied from team to team. It was a sense of anyone could beat anyone, from the top teams to the teams in the lower half you could never be sure of who would win. The standard was better than I thought it would be. It was competitive.
EPA: What are your plans for the future? Would you like to play abroad again?
SJK: My plans for the future are that I’m going to continue playing and push as hard as I can to get back to where I think I belong. I’m giving my all to get back there. It will take hard work and some luck but I’m confident I will get there. I’ve enjoyed my time abroad and having seen what it has done for young English I would definitely go back abroad.