Myles Anderson’s Italian adventure has made him a more cultured, experienced and mature defender.
And he’s hoping he can show Hartlepool United fans that he can not only produce the goods on the continent, but in the National League, too.
In 2013, at the age of 23, Anderson was scouted by Monza, a lower league Italian side, while playing a pre-season game for Exeter City.
On a short-term deal and with the grace of then manager Paul Tisdale, the former Aberdeen and Blackburn Rovers defender decided to head to Europe.
The rest, they say, is history.
Impressing on the trial he won a permanent deal, spending two season at Monza, which included a loan spell further down the league pyramid at Pro Patria.
Chievo’s eyes were caught by the Englishman’s shows on the continent and signed him up in 2015, followed by spells at L’Aquila and Lupa Castelli Romani before heading back to Barrow in 2016.
Anderson knows that spell abroad made him a better player.
“I don’t think too many English players were playing abroad at that time. In fact, there aren’t too many playing now. It was a case of just wanting to mix it up. Why not change things up?” he said.
“It was very different. The culture, the training, everything.
“It made me a better player.
“I learned a lot out there. They love defending. I learned a lot about tactics and positioning. It was a very good move in my career.
“It wasn’t just that, at the time I was 23. I think the move made me grow as a man.
“I had always lived with my family but all that changes. I had to fend for myself. It was a fantastic experience.”
The size of Pools is not lost on Anderson, signed on a free transfer after his release from Chester.
And he is determined to grasp his opportunity with both hands this campaign.
“This is a big step forward in my career,” he said.
“I am looking forward to it [the new season] massively. The other boys are too.
“For me it is a case of just keeping it simple - perform to the best of my ability in training and produce when I am called upon in games.”
Meanwhile, first team boss Matthew Bates thinks the cultured approach of Anderson will be perfectly complemented by the aggressive figure of fellow new boy Andrew Davies, who last week penned a deal after negotiating his release from Ross County.
“I think a lot of clubs miss it. The new generation of players don’t do it and I think it is going out of the game a little bit,” said the manager.
“You rarely see it from any young players coming through.
“I wouldn’t say it’s coached out of them, but it’s certainly not coached into them.
“It’s a dying breed really.
“I wouldn’t say Davies is OTT, but he’s an aggressive lad who’ll put his foot in when need be.
“But there’s a lot more to his game the that, he’s a top defender and, in my opinion, there won’t be a better centre-half at this level.
“His aggression I hope will breed aggression through the team.
“I’m over the moon, we’ve been talking for weeks and I kind of know it was going to happen.
“I’d been itching to get the news out there to the fans.”